The speech made by Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir at the celebration of the 29th anniversary of the Popular Defence Forces in Kosti in White Nile state “shows that he has no intention of making concessions to the USA regarding the ongoing negotiations on the six conditions to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism,” according to a leading analyst.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga broadcast today, Dr Suliman Baldo, a strategic analyst and researcher at the Enough Project, cited remarks in Al Bashir’s speech including “whoever is using the US as a cover is naked”.
Baldo suggests that “such statements weaken Sudan’s negotiating position and lead to questioning the seriousness of the regime in the bilateral negotiations with the USA administration”.
As reported last week by Radio Dabanga, the US State Department has voiced its commitment “to initiate the process of rescinding Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism if the determination is made that all of the relevant statutory criteria have been met,” following bilateral talks between US Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan and the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dirdeiry Ahmed in Washington DC.
'Such statements weaken Sudan’s negotiating position and lead to questioning the seriousness of the regime in the bilateral negotiations with the USA administration'
Baldo points out in the interview that “since Sudan has been named as a sponsor of terrorism, this contradiction presented by Al Bashir in Kosti has precedents and indicates the lack of institutional decision-making and policies in Sudan. This leads to the weakening of confidence in Sudan as a state in terms of adherence to the positions taken in the international arena and bilateral negotiations in a sensitive matter such as lifting sanctions.”
Baldo cited what Al Bashir did when the former Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, led an organised and politicised process involving all the concerned state bodies in the negotiations with the US administration, which ended with the lifting of economic and trade sanctions. “However, Al Bashir, in turn, paid a visit to Russia and asked President Putin to protect Sudan from US intentions and policies, and demanded the establishment of a naval base on the Red Sea to ensure the protection of Sudan from the USA.
Six US conditions
“The six US conditions to lift the name of the Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism require Sudan to take steps to respond to the issues of compensation filed by American victims in the US courts against Sudan for collusion in the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden and the destruction of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks and US courts have issued rulings of payment of several million Dollars by the government of Sudan to these victims.”
Baldo told Radio Dabanga that these compensation issues are one of the conditions that the government of Sudan is required to engage in the process of ongoing and unresolved litigation.
'Sudan has a period of nine months to make real achievements on the six US conditions'
He explained that Sudan’s involvement in the judicial process either to prove responsibility for these bombings or the courts see otherwise, which requires Sudan to pay compensation to the victims of these bombings
Regarding the deadline of the six American conditions to lift the name of Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, Baldo said that Sudan has a period of nine months to make real achievements on the six conditions on which Sudan expressed its approval in October and announced earlier this month in Washington during the visit of the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs to the USA last week.
He told Radio Dabanga that the US administration has not yet made clear its criteria for measuring progress on the six conditions for improving human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, cessation of hostilities and seriously engaging in the peace process.
He called for the need to subject the performance of the Government of Sudan in respect of rights to monitor carefully by the media, civil society activists and human rights organisations at home and abroad.
Baldo also called for the need to subject the US government’s assessment of this improvement to strict monitoring so that the political considerations would not overcome what is required, such as improving the situation of human rights in Sudan, religious freedoms and freedoms of expression and press.
A US presidential notice announced the continuation of the national emergency with respect to Sudan last week, in spite of a recent visit of a Sudanese delegation to Washington.
In the White House notice, US President Donald Trump explains why despite recent positive developments, the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan that led to the declaration of a national emergency in Executive Order 13067 in 1997, an expansion of that order in 2006, has not been resolved
At the end of October, the Sudanese Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding between the Sudanese Ministry of Interior and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on combating terrorism, crime and development of police cooperation.
In a statement from the national capital of Khartoum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the extension of the US State of Emergency as “inconsistent with the spirit of constructive cooperation between the two countries on many issues of common concern”.
2017 Country Reports
The 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism, released in September by the US State Department, noted the recent easing in Sudan-US relations which have resulted in the lifting of economic sanctions that were in place since 1997.
“The United States lifted certain economic sanctions on Sudan due to progress the government made through the Five-Track Engagement Plan, which includes a process to evaluate Sudan’s counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.”
Sudan has been on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism by the United States for more than two decades. In November 1997, Washington blocked Sudanese government property and prohibited transactions with Sudan, as it considered Khartoum an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the USA.”
About two decades later, in October 2017, certain economic sanctions were permanently revoked. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the amendment of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations in the Federal Register, because of “Sudan’s positive actions [..].
“These actions included a marked reduction in offensive military activity [..] and steps toward the improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, as well as cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts,” the Federal Register cited.
The amendment included a general license authorising certain transactions related to exports of agricultural commodities, medicines, and medical devices to Sudan in the Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations.
Sudanese officials have insisted on the need of the country to be removed entirely from the terrorism sponsors list, so it can benefit from the debt relief and international development aid.