On Thursday, the Sudanese government welcomed the US State Department announcement that it could be taken off the US State Sponsor of Terrorism list.
The US voiced its commitment on Wednesday “to strengthening cooperation and meaningful reforms” with Sudan, and “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.”
The announcement came after talks held in Washington on Tuesday between US Deputy John Sullivan and Sudanese Foreign Minister El Dirdeiri Ahmed.
After these talks, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ambassador Babiker El Siddiq, said that the two sides agreed to launch the second phase of their strategic cooperation with the US. This agreement will eventually lead to the removal of Sudan from the list of states which sponsor terrorism.
“Sudan welcomes the launching of Phase II of the strategic dialogue between the two sides. It was designed to expand bilateral cooperation and achieve further progress in a number of areas of common interest, especially after the success of the First Phase, which culminated in the lifting of economic sanctions on Sudan,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday.
The State Department the agreed that the six areas of cooperation with Sudan include expanding counterterrorism cooperation, enhancing human rights protections and practices, including freedoms of religion and press, improving humanitarian access, ceasing internal hostilities and creating a more conducive environment for progress in Sudan’s peace process, taking steps to address certain outstanding terrorism-related claims, and adhering to UN Security Council resolutions related to North Korea.
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”.
Sudanese officials have insisted on the need of the country to be removed entirely from the terrorism sponsor list, so it can benefit from debt-relief and international development aid.