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Sudan Call: ‘US dialogue with Sudan should not overlook interests of Sudanese people’

September 27 - 2018 LONDON / KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

The USA has stated that it is ready to resume dialogue with the Sudanese government on mutual relations. Sudan Call, a coalition of opposition parties and armed movements, urges the USA “not to overlook the interests of the Sudanese people”.

In a statement this week, the Sudan Call coalition said the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Khartoum told their leaders that his country is in the process of resuming dialogue with the government to agree on relations between them. The US Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis met with the Sudanese opposition alliance in London.

The coalition called upon the USA “not to overlook the interests of the Sudanese people in a just peace, full democratic transition, respect for human rights and the guarantee of public freedoms”.

The leaders of the coalition handed a memorandum to the US Chargé d’Affaires stating the position of Sudan Call on the political and economic issues in Sudan.

On Wednesday, following a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at the UN General Assembly, Sudan’s Foreign Minister El Dirdeiri Mohamed Ahmed announced that a full understanding has been reached about the launch of the second phase of the dialogue between the two countries.

Counter-terrorism

The US State Department has 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.

The 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism released by the US State Department last week noted the recent easing in Sudan-US relations which have resulted in the lifting of economic sanctions that were in place since 1997.

Blacklisted

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 U.S.”.

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.

Last week the Sudanese foreign ministry announced that its minister will lead a Sudanese delegation to the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, and would meet US officials to resume discussions on the removal from the list.

UN Special Rapporteur

Earlier this month, the Sudan Call, called for the re-establishment of the mandate of a UN special rapporteur. The group stressed the continued deterioration of human rights in Sudan.

In a letter sent to regional, international and human rights organisations, the coalition said that the government of Sudan “has shown no political will to improve the human rights conditions”. They pointed to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese security service (NISS) for being the main perpetrators of human rights violations in the country.

With regard to the UN Human Rights Council, the Sudan Call will urge the council to mandate a special rapporteur to monitor human rights abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law in Sudan. The council holds its annual meeting until the end of September.

The Sudan Call leadership decided to lobby council members to re-appoint a special rapporteur for Sudan. A letter has been sent to the council, noting violations and atrocities committed by the Sudanese regime, and cases in which prisoners of war had been deprived of their rights to health care.


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