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Sudan’s FM, U.S. diplomats discuss bilateral relations

August 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour discussed with a visiting delegation from the U.S. State Department ways to enhance bilateral relations, said on Wednesday a statement released in Khartoum.

Ibrahim Ghandour (Photo Suna)

According to the foreign ministry’s spokesperson, the delegation was headed by Paul Steven, a senior official at the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Also, the meeting was attended by the U.S. ChargĂ© d’Affaires in Khartoum Steven Koutsis.

Steven was in Khartoum several times this year to discuss issues relating to the five-track framework agreement reached by the two countries last year for the lift of U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan. Donald Trump’s administration didn’t yet appoint a special envoy for Sudan.

However, the statement of the ministry of foreign affairs didn’t refer to the sanctions but said the parties discussed bilateral relations and regional and international issues.

"The meeting touched on the importance of strengthening relations between the two countries and joint cooperation on issues of common concern. Also, it discussed a number of issues and political matters on the regional and international arenas," said the statement.

Last July, Washington postponed its decision on the permanent revocation of the 20-years economic embargo on Sudan to next October.

The State Department said there is a need to consider news conditions that were not part of the initial five-track plan citing human rights, religious freedom practices in Sudan and Khartoum’s commitment to UN sanctions on North Korea.

In a separate development, Filippo Grandi the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees praised Sudanese government efforts to receive South Sudanese refugees, said the foreign ministry in Khartoum.

" (Grandi) expressed the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations for the lift the U.S. sanctions on Sudan, hoping that this will be done during the upcoming month of October," said the statement.

The UNHCH chief visited Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur State, where he met South Sudanese refugees.

(ST)