(ST - KHARTOUM) - The United States on Friday permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.
In July, Washington said a decision on whether or not to fully lift the sanctions, which former President Obama had suspended shortly before leaving the White House, would be delayed for three months.
“Today, the United States decided to revoke economic sanctions with respect to Sudan and the Government of Sudan under Executive Orders 13067 and 13412, in recognition of the Government of Sudan’s sustained positive actions to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan, improve humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintain cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism,” said the States Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a press statement on Friday.
“The revocation will be effective October 12, 2017. This action came about through a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan in these key areas,” she added.
The statement acknowledged Khartoum’s serious cooperation with the U.S. on a number of issues, saying Washington will continue efforts to improve bilateral relations with Sudan.
“However, much more progress is needed to fully and sustainably achieve peace in Sudan and to cooperate with the United States on a range of Administration priorities, including further expanding humanitarian access, improving the Government of Sudan’s human rights and religious freedom practices, and ensuring that the Government of Sudan is committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea,” read the statement.
The State Department further said the U.S. “is prepared to use additional tools to apply pressure if the Government of Sudan regresses on progress to date in the five areas noted above or takes negative actions on other areas of concern”.
The U.S. decision leaves other sanctions in place for the time being, including those against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.
Also, it does not remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Washington designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993, and imposed comprehensive economic, trade, and financial sanctions against the Sudan In October 1997.
However, in May 2007, the U.S. imposed additional economic sanctions on Sudan. At the time President Bush said the sanctions aim to end the suffering of the millions of Sudanese affected by the crisis in Darfur.
Also after the eruption of the conflict in the Two Area in June 2011, Washington said Sudan has to end the conflict and allow humanitarian access to civilians in the affected areas.