Following the visit of USAID chief administrator Mark Green to Khartoum and El Fasher over the past days, the armed opposition movement SPLM-N expressed the hope that Khartoum will lift humanitarian aid restrictions before Washington lifts the economic sanctions against Sudan.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) added in a press statement released today that the visit of Mark Green “demonstrates that the humanitarian situation in Sudan is a priority of USAID [the U.S. Agency for International Development]”.
The movement added that: “Khartoum has been using humanitarian assistance for political purposes as one of the means of its aggression against the marginalised people in the rural areas of Sudan and it has been denying access for years to many places, especially the Two Areas and Jebel Marra in Darfur, which is a war crime in the international humanitarian law.”
The SPLM-N claimed that Khartoum is only interested in the lifting of sanctions of the United States against Sudan. At the end of 2016, the administration of former President Barak Obama began working on the criteria for permanently lifting these sanctions – though Sudan would remain branded a sponsor of terrorism according to the USA.
The five criteria under assessment include the ceasing of offensive military activities and providing more access to humanitarian organisations in Sudan, and it does not include the improvement of the human rights situation; a benchmark which dozens of US Congressmen, human rights watchdogs, and activists find lacking.
In an audio recording of Green’s speech in El Fasher yesterday, the chief administrator of USAID said: “We will be watching closely for sustained progress in all of the five tracks. In particular we are hoping to see progress in humanitarian access right here in North Darfur.” (listen to the full clip below)
In a press release yesterday, the policy group Enough Project said that “smart, modernised sanctions that spare the Sudanese public and target those most responsible for grand corruption, atrocities and obstructing peace” should be the aim of the next phase of talks between Khartoum and Washington. The State Sponsor of Terrorism designation of Sudan should be removed once major reforms are made, according to Enough.