Sudan to bear pain of US sanctions for another year

Tuesday November 1 2016

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech during a ceremony to declare an end to 13 years of conflict in Darfur, on September 7, 2016, in the North Darfur state capital El-Fasher. PHOTO | AFP

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO | FILE 

By FRED OLUOCH

President Barack Obama has renewed sanctions against Sudan for another year, dashing Khartoum's hope of relieve.

Sudanese embassy in Washington regretted the move saying it was an unjustified decision against human rights and Sudanese people.

A statement released by the State Department on Tuesday quoted President Obama saying that Khartoum's policies remained an "extraordinary threat" to the national security of the United States.

"The actions and policies of the government of Sudan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," President Obama said.

This comes a few weeks after Amnesty International report revealed that Sudan had carried out 30 chemical attacks against rebels in Jebel Marra from January 2016 to September 2016 in which 367 civilians, including 95 children were killed.

However, Khartoum denied the claims, saying that some of the safelight pictures that Amnesty International used were manipulated.

Khartoum has been optimistic that the US ease sanctions soon after special envoy, Donald Booth, visited the country twice and after the government concluded a two-year national dialogue with rebels and the opposition on October 10.

Sponsor of terrorism

Finance Minister, Badr El-Din Mahmoud late last month announced that beginning December, the US would start lifting sanctions on planes and trains spare parts.

Washington last month lifted the embargo on non-commercial banking transactions, especially for the humanitarian purposes.

Last year, the US lifted the sanctions on some digital devices.

The US imposed economic, trade and financial sanctions on Sudan in 1997 after the State Department designated the country a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1993. The US in September this year lifted non-commercial bank transactions in relation to humanitarian assistance. The move followed alleged support for terrorism and hosting the late Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, from 1992 to 1996.

Following President Obama's announcement, the US Embassy in Khartoum said that the one-year extension was purely technical and the sanctions could still be eased.

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