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Sudanese PM Heads to Washington to Discuss Sanctions

Sudanese PM Heads to Washington to Discuss Sanctions

Monday, 2 December, 2019 - 09:45
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok (File photo: Reuters)

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok kicked off a six-day visit to Washington on Monday for talks with US officials focused on seeking to lift sanctions against his country.

Sources expect Hamdok to meet the US President Donald Trump, upon his return from London where he is attending the meetings of NATO leaders.

Ahead of his visit, Hamdouk urged the US to immediately remove Sudan from the list of “states sponsor of terrorism.”

Speaking to The Independent, the PM said that if the intentional community allows Sudan to become a failed state, the ensuing chaos would spawn multiple regional “caliphates”.

The PM is accompanied by his foreign, justice, defense, and sports ministers.

Earlier in October 2017, Washington lifted some trade sanctions against Sudan under the rule of former President Omar al-Bashir, as part of countering terrorism and allowing humanitarian aid to reach the affected areas.

Despite toppling the regime of Bashir in April, the terrorism listing and restrictions related to the war-torn region of Darfur remain in place, crippling the economy.

Washington named Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 under Bashir, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide. He angered western states for playing host to terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s.

As relations improved, Washington began a formal process to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in January 2017, but this was put on hold when Sudan’s mass protests erupted last year.

Eventually, the uprising forced Sudan’s military into a power-sharing agreement with civilians. For the next 3 years, an 11-member supreme council will oversee the ruling of the country headed up by army chief Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, alongside five civilians including Sudan’s first Christian leader in half a century. Hamdok will head the civil government.

Despite these changes, the US kept Sudan on the list, which has locked the economy in a stranglehold, making it next to impossible for businesses to operate in dollar transactions, work with foreign banks, and access loans from international institutions.

Sudanese officials have repeatedly complained of the slow response from Western governments over the issue of sanctions, and in September, PM Hamdok said he was expecting a “big breakthrough”, but nothing has changed.

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