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US welcomes Sudan counterterrorism cooperation, sanctions remain

September 21 - 2016 WASHINGTON D.C.
The US Capitol, Washington D.C. (file photo Wikimedia Commons)
The US Capitol, Washington D.C. (file photo Wikimedia Commons)

The United States has welcomed Sudan's recent efforts to increase counterterrorism cooperation with the US in recent months, but says highlights human rights and advancing freedoms remain issues of contention.

In a statement on Tuesday, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, for the US State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs John Kirby says Sudan has taken important steps to counter ISIL and other terrorist groups and has sought to prevent their movement into and through Sudan.

“Sudan’s continued cooperation will bolster international efforts to combat terrorism in the broader region. Subject to and consistent with‎ US law, we will work cooperatively with the Government of Sudan on counterterrorism to enhance the security of both our countries.”

Kirby’s statement includes the caveats that “while countering terrorism is an important objective for the United States, we continue to engage the Government of Sudan on protecting human rights, resolving internal conflicts, addressing humanitarian needs, improving regional stability, and advancing political freedoms, accountability and reconciliation.”

Sanctions

The Sudanese government has gone to great efforts over the past months to convince Washington to lift the raft of sanctions in place since 1997. They imposed a comprehensive trade embargo on Sudan and blocked the assets of the government of Sudan.

President George Bush renewed the sanctions in April 2006 because of the conflict in Darfur, and ordered the “blocking of property of certain persons connected to the conflict”.

In 2014, President Barack Obama extended sanctions on Sudan, saying that “Khartoum continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of his country”.

In 2015, Washington came down hard on European banks that evaded their sanctions. In response, European and Saudi Arabian banks announced that they would stop their transactions with Sudan.


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