US Charge d’Affaires, Steven Koutsis, held a press conference at the embassy about the new phase which the USA and Sudan have entered in order for the country to be removed from the sponsors of terrorism list.
The US State Department recently announced its commitment to cooperate further with Sudan and to start the process to rescind Sudan's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Today Koutsis elaborated on the 'Phase II' framework for the bilateral cooperation.
“The completion of the Five Track Engagement Plan and the lifting of certain sanctions in October 2017 marked an important milestone in US-Sudanese relations. However, our progress thus far serves as only the first step in a longer road to improving bilateral relations.
“We have therefore launched the “Phase II” framework for our bilateral engagement, which is designed to expand our cooperation, facilitate meaningful reforms in Sudan, and achieve further progress in a number of areas of longstanding mutual concern.”
Koutsis said that the second phase has the potential to make the bilateral relationship more productive than it has been in 30 years. “Providing us an opportunity to expand cooperation and achieve improvements in a number of key areas of mutual concern, including the protection of religious freedom and other human rights.”
Phase two will also “serve as a mechanism for securing justice for victims of terrorist violence”.
The phase includes expanding counterterrorism cooperation; enhancing human rights protections and practices; improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan; ceasing internal hostilities to create a conducive environment for progress in Sudan’s peace process; taking necessary steps to address certain outstanding terrorism-related claims; and adhering to UN Security Council resolutions related to North Korea.
Designation from terrorism list
As part of this engagement, the US is prepared 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.
Koutsis added that he is pleased with Sudan’s stated commitment to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. “Fighting money laundering and terrorist financing is a priority for the United States.”
According to Koutsis the Sudanese government’s committed to protect and defend human rights, including press and religious freedoms.
In September, the USA decided to keep Sudan on its blacklist of states that sponsor terrorism, yet affirmed its positive rating of Sudan’s track record in combating terrorism.
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 [..].”