Monday 23 October 2017

Sudan hails end of US trade embargo as 'positive decision'

Sudan hails end of US trade embargo as 'positive decision'
(AFP 10/07/17)
President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan on Friday welcomed the US decision to end its 20-year trade embargo against Khartoum as a "positive decision" but called for Washington to go further and take the country off its blacklist of state terror sponsors.

Earlier Friday, Washington announced it was ending the embargo, citing improvements made by Sudan in its human rights record.

"The leaders of Sudan, the government of Sudan and the people of Sudan welcome the positive decision taken by American President Donald Trump of removing the economic sanctions completely," the official SUNA news agency quoted a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

The US decision came after months of diplomatic talks between the two countries that began during the tenure of former US president Barack Obama.

The ministry said Friday's "historic" decision will further help Sudan cooperate with the United States on "issues of international peace and security, illegal immigration, human trafficking and fighting terrorism".

Sudan is looking forward to building "a normal relation with the United States, but wants its name to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as there is no reason to have Sudan in that list," the ministry statement said.

Though Washington is ending the trade embargo, it did not drop Sudan from its state terror blacklist.

Washington first imposed the sanctions in 1997 over Khartoum's alleged support to Islamist militant groups. Now slain Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.

Following a significant improvement in relations, Obama eased the sanctions in January before leaving office with a view to lifting them completely after a six month review.

But in July, Trump extended the review period to October 12. On Friday his administration decided to lift the embargo permanently.

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