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Sudan hopes US sanctions will be lifted “very soon” after talks

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Sudan’s prime minister said on Friday he had useful talks with US officials while at the United Nations this week and hoped Khartoum would reach a deal “very soon” to remove the country from Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The economist, Abdalla Hamdok, took over the interim government in August, pledging to stabilize Sudan and reform the economy, which has been hit by years of US sanctions and mismanagement during Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.

But Sudan has so far been unable to benefit from the support of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank because of the inclusion of the country on the US list of states sponsoring terrorism.

“Coming to the (UN) General Assembly has given us a tremendous opportunity to meet many leaders of the US administration,” Hamdok told reporters after a high-level event to rally support for his country at the annual gathering of world leaders.

“We had a very useful discussion on the issue of inclusion as a state sponsor of terrorism. We hope that very soon we will be able to conclude an agreement that will allow Sudan to be removed from the list. ”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed support for Hamdok efforts during the event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Guterres called for the immediate abolition of Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, lifting all economic sanctions and mobilizing broad financial support for development in order to maintain the current political gains.

Lack of bread, fuel and medicine, along with soaring prices, sparked protests that led to Bashir’s ouster in April.

But the transitional government will need US support to tackle debt issues and attract investment. The government is preparing to launch a nine-month economic rescue plan in October aimed at curbing high inflation while ensuring continued supply of basic goods.

“The new Sudan that embraces good governance and democracy is not a threat to any country in the world,” Hamdok said.

A senior US official said in August that Washington would test Sudan’s new transitional government ‘s commitment to human rights, freedom of expression and facilitate humanitarian operations before agreeing to remove the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The US State Department could not be reached for comment.

The US government placed Sudan on a list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 under former President Bill Clinton, separating the country from financial markets and stifling its economy, due to allegations of support for the Islamic government of al-Bashir, especially attacks in Kenya and Tanzania.

In 2017, Washington lifted a 20-year trade embargo on Sudan and was in discussions to remove him from the US list when the army intervened on April 11 to isolate Bashir.

President Donald Trump’s administration suspended talks on normalizing relations with Sudan and demanded that the military hand over power to a civilian government.

A senior European diplomat said the US government considered the new government should shoulder the responsibilities of the previous government.

“I don’t think the Americans are ready yet,” the diplomat said. They continue to believe that Sudan today must pay for the crimes of Sudan yesterday in relation to legal issues related to the terrorist attacks in Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.”

“The situation is very difficult for the Sudanese, so it is important to come up with a formula to resolve the matter,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

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