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U.S. to lift 20-year trade embargo against Sudan

15 January 2017

Officials said the administration was keeping in place the broad set of economic and financial sanctions Sudan faces as a result of its "state sponsor of terrorism" designation.

SAMANTHA POWER: We, behind the scenes, have been engaged with the government of Sudan in a discreet way, laying out the kind of steps that we would need to see in a number of areas in order for them to see sanctions relief.

The controversial move on Sudan, which lifts some parts of a USA trade embargo in place since Bill Clinton's administration, came in response to "Sudan's positive actions over the past 6 months", including "cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism", according to an executive order by Obama published by the White House.

The Obama administration, however, claims the easing of sanctions against Sudan is due to the country's willingness to restrict movement of Islamic State jihadists and its supposed shift toward aligning with Saudi Arabia as opposed to Iran.

"I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the actions taken in those orders related to the policies and actions of the government of Sudan has been altered by Sudan's positive actions over the past six months", U.S. President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to members of Congress. The billionaire real estate magnate has yet to comment publicly on the lifting. However, he has extended sanctions against Russia, Iran, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

In that time there had been "a marked reduction in offensive military activity, culminating in a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan", he said.

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Atta stressed that Sudan is ready to deal with any counter-attacks resulting from its counter-terrorism cooperation with the USA and reiterated that the US should remove Sudan from its list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The department first labeled Sudan a terrorism sponsor in 1993.

Sudan welcomed the U.S. decision, saying it was a "positive and important" development in relations with Washington.

He stressed that Sudan would continue to cooperate with the U.S.to overcome all obstacles that impede full normalization of relations between the two countries in order to achieve the higher interests of the two peoples. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged in absentia by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in the western region of Darfur.

Darfur has been gripped by bloodshed since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect.

U.S. to lift 20-year trade embargo against Sudan