USA economic sanctions on Sudan lifted

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The United States Friday afternoon lifted economic sanctions on Sudan, completing a process started by then-President Barack Obama in January.

The United States is preparing to lift the decades-long economic sanctions on Sudan after it has seen improvements in the country's human rights and progress in counter-terrorism measures, a U.S. official said yesterday.

The U.S. had worked to isolate Sudan since the military coup that brought Omar al-Bashir to power in 1989.

Also, it does not remove Sudan's name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But the sanctions decision reflects a US assessment that Sudan has made progress in meeting Washington's demands, including cooperation on counter-terrorism, working to resolve internal conflicts and allowing more humanitarian aid into Darfur and other rebellious border areas, the official said.

Sudanese officials also remain subject to United Nations sanctions for human rights abuses during the Darfur conflict, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Sudan's actions during the last nine months show that it is serious about cooperating with the United States and has taken significant steps to stop conflict and improve humanitarian access within Sudan, and to promote regional stability", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement on Friday.

USA officials also made clear in July their concern about Sudan's suspected ties to North Korea. "This action came about through a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan in these key areas", she added.

It also remains subject to separate United Nations Security Council sanctions related to its violent crackdown on opposition groups in Darfur, for which Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir, faces worldwide criminal prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide.

"It sends the wrong message to lift these sanctions permanently when Sudan has made so little progress on human rights", said Andrea Prasow, deputy director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch.

In 1997, the United States imposed sanctions on Sudan, including a trade embargo and blocking the government's asset over the African country's alleged human rights violations and support for terrorism.

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