The United States' State Department 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 on Wednesday by the US State Department, noted the recent easing in Sudan-US relations which have resulted in the lifting of economic sanctions that were in place since 1997.
“The United States lifted certain economic sanctions on Sudan due to progress the government made through the Five-Track Engagement Plan, which includes a process to evaluate Sudan’s counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.”
The report pointed out that Sudanese security forces are playing a role in intercepting the flow of potential terrorists along the borders with Libya and preventing arms smuggling, along with other illicit activities.
However, “Sudan’s expansive size, and the government’s outdated technology and limited visa restrictions, presented challenges for border security”.
This year’s report acknowledged that Sudan “continued to pursue counter-terrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to US interests and personnel in Sudan”.
President Omar Al Bashir said in a meeting in his palace on Wednesday that Sudan is combating terrorism and supports the international efforts for eradicating terrorism, indicating that the FBI and CIA reports affirmed that Sudan has nothing to do with terrorists.
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.
This 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.