Obama to Remove Sudan Sanctions
- Obama Administration wants to Remove Sudan Sanctions
CAIRO The Obama administration's envoy to Sudan has called for removing Khartoum from the US terrorism blacklist and ending sanctions on the Arab country, reported the Washington Post on Friday, July 31.
"There's no evidence in our intelligence community that supports (Sudan) being on the state sponsors of terrorism," retired general Scott Gration told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"It's a political decision."
The US designates Sudan, along with Cuba, Iran and Syria, as a "state sponsor of terrorism", and imposes sanctions, including restrictions on aid.
The administration of former president George W. Bush slapped a new package of sanctions in 2007 as part of efforts to pile up pressures on Khartoum to solve the Darfur conflict, raging since 2003.
The US envoy said that the sanctions are "hurting the very development" needed to keep a fragile peace in Sudan.
"The consequences of the sanctions that result from that, and other sanctions, are preventing us from doing the development we absolutely need to do.
"We're going to have to unwind some of these sanctions so that we can do the very things we need to do to ensure a peaceful transition to a state that is viable in the south, if they choose to do that."
The 2005 north-south peace deal ended a two-decade civil war between the north and south.
The accord established an interim period, with a coalition government between the Muslim north and mostly Christian south and the sharing of oil wealth.
It ends in 18 months with a referendum in the south on whether to secede.
Gration said Washington needed a relationship with Khartoum to deal with the north-south peace and the Darfur issue.
He said the Obama administration would "roll out" a new, comprehensive strategy on Darfur in the next few weeks that would include "both incentives and pressure" for Khartoum.
"What matters is that we have people living in dire, desperate conditions that must end," Gration said.
Last month, Gration said the conflict in Darfur is no longer qualified as a genocide.
The conflict broke out in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Khartoum regime accusing it of discrimination.
The UN says over 300,000 have died as a result of conflict, disease and malnutrition and 2,5 million have been displaced.
The Sudanese government says that 10,000 have died.
No independent inquiry has been made to date.
The Sudanese government immediately welcomed the US envoy's endeavor.
"Sudan has appreciated the positive signals," Sudan's ambassador to the UN Abdul-Mahmoud Abdul-Halim said, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Abdul-Halim condemned the "unjustifiable American sanctions", calling for a new era in relations between Khartoum and Washington.
Such relationship should be "based on respect of Sudan's choices" and in "the interest of the two nations," he said.
He also voiced hope Gration would "convince the US administration to adopt clear and decisive steps to lift Sudan out of its list of countries allegedly sponsoring terrorism."
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