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Guterres Welcomes 'New Sudan' as Hamdok Sees Path to Lifting Sanctions Soon

Guterres Welcomes 'New Sudan' as Hamdok Sees Path to Lifting Sanctions Soon

Saturday, 28 September, 2019 - 10:00
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a high-level event in New York celebrating "a new Sudan" that it was "the happiest moment" of the many dozens of meetings he has attended during this week's annual gathering of world leaders.


Guterres said he has "a special emotional relationship with the people of Sudan," a country he lived in and visited often in his previous job as the UN's refugee chief. He called the formation of the first civilian-led government since the military ousted former President Omar al-Bashir in April "a pivotal moment of change and hope."


The UN chief said the transition "marks the start of Sudan's long road' to economic recovery, peace and better lives for all Sudanese.


Guterres urged the international community to do everything possible to make Sudan's democratic experience a success, including immediately removing the country from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.


That appeal was echoed by Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, and Sudan's new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, who called the de-listing "the most important" challenge because it is key to economic development, investment and "opening the country."


Hamdok said he had held useful talks with US officials while at the United Nations this week, and expressed hope Khartoum could reach an agreement to be removed from Washington's state-sponsored terrorism list "very soon."


"Coming to the General Assembly provided us with a huge opportunity to meet many leaders in the American administration," Hamdok told reporters after the high-level event to drum up support for his country.


"We had a very useful discussion on the issue of state-sponsored terrorism. We hope as we move forward we will be able to conclude very soon an agreement that would allow Sudan to be delisted."


A senior US official said in August that Washington would test the commitment of Sudan's new transitional government to human rights, freedom of speech and humanitarian access before it agrees to remove the country from the list.


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