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Sudan hires US firm to lobby for sanctions relief

A Sudanese man counts bank notes in Khartoum (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
A Sudanese man counts bank notes in Khartoum (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

Earlier this summer, law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs inked a contract with the Sudanese government aimed at removing US sanctions on the regime.

The firm will be paid $40,000 a month by a government that is on the US state sponsors of terror list, with a head of state, Omar Al Bashir, wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court, Time writes on 6 July.

“It’s legally possible for [Squire Patton Boggs] to do this. But the question is, is there a line somewhere on K Street you just shouldn’t cross?” said John Prendergast, founder of the Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide organization.

“In my view this is blood money,” he told Foreign Policy last month. 

The Trump administration is due to decide on 12 July whether or not to permanently lift comprehensive US economic sanctions, originally imposed because of Khartoum’s support for terrorism.

On 13 January this year, President Barack Obama temporary suspended nearly 20 year-old economic sanctions on Sudan in response to “sustained progress” on several fronts.

The sanctions were imposed in November 1997 after Sudan was accused of being a “state sponsor of terrorism”. Sudanese government assets in the USA were blocked and trade transactions involving certain Sudanese officials were barred.

Squire Patton Boggs is now lobbying the US administration to permanently remove those sanctions, and in the longer term to try to clean up the regime’s image in Washington.

The firm commented by saying that “For decades, we have represented foreign governments and foreign government institutions engaged in a productive dialogue with the United States or with which the United States government has taken steps to deepen or renew relations.

“While we recognize and respect that others may have different views, our firm will be working with Sudan as it seeks to continue to meet the expectations of our government,” a spokesman for the firm replied to Time.

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