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USA imposes visa restrictions on ‘multiple individuals’ in Sudan

August 14 - 2020 WASHINGTON DC
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (Official photo)
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (Official photo)

Yesterday, United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that “individuals residing both inside and outside Sudan who are believed to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged, directly or indirectly, in undermining Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government’s efforts to implement the July 17, 2019, Political Agreement and August 17, 2019, Constitutional Declaration” will be subject to “visa restrictions”.

According to the statement, the US believes that “Sudan’s Constitutional Declaration provides the best roadmap to begin the transition to a just, equitable, and democratic society.  Unfortunately, former Bashir-era officials and others continue to undermine Sudan’s nascent democracy”.

Restrictions will be implemented under the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(3)(C) and can include immediate family members of the individuals.

Activities relating to complicity in undermining Sudan’s transition to civilian governance include “obstructing the work of civilian ministers, stalling implementation of provisions of the Constitutional Declaration, delaying preparations for drafting a new constitution and preparing for elections in 2022, and engaging in corruption or the abuse or violation of human rights in Sudan, which would weaken the authority of the civilian-led transitional government.”

The list of these individuals is not publicly available.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok is yet to comment on this development.

Sudan-US relations

On August 6, Hamdok received a phone call from Pompeo reiterating importance of Sudan-US bilateral relations and the country’s removal from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Hamdok also received a call from Saudi Foreign Minister concerning economic recovery and stability in Sudan.

Hamdok tweeted “Delighted to receive a phone call from Mike Pompeo today to discuss further progress in delisting Sudan from the sponsors of terrorism list.”

He also said he is “looking forward to the continued support of the US administration to Sudan’s transitional government.”

Pompeo has repeatedly indicated that the State Department hopes to remove the designation, which severely impedes investment to Sudan, but disputes have arisen on a compensation package over the 1998 bombings* of two US embassies.

* As reported by Radio Dabanga in June, according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an agreement with the Sudanese government on the victims of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, would be reached in the coming weeks.

“We are working on a positive solution for Sudan’s new leadership and the Sudanese people,” Pompeo told the US-backed Al Hurra news station in an interview on Wednesday.

After talking with Hamdok earlier that day, the US official expressed hope that the two parties will achieve a “satisfactory results” within weeks.

He could not give more details. “My team on the ground is working closely with the Sudanese leadership to try to reach a good result, and I hope that this will be achieved in the coming weeks,” he said.

The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported at the time that Minister of Foreign Affairs Asmaa Abdallah earlier announced that Khartoum is close to an agreement with Washington regarding the compensation for the victims of the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that took place in the summer of 1998.

In February, the transitional government of Sudan paid out a settlement of $70 million to the families of the victims of the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen in an effort to persuade the USA to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, considered essential to the country’s economic recovery.

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