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Regional leaders crave for lifting of Sudan’s sanctions

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok hosts US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 25, 2020.Twitter/US Embassy in Khartoum

A number of regional leaders have appealed to the international community to lift sanctions imposed on Sudan under the former regime of President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan has been under numerous economic and arms sanctions since the 1990s.

The country was placed on the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism in 1993 on accusations of supporting terrorist groups.

In 1997, Washington imposed economic sanctions on Khartoum and tightened them a year later after attacks against US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

In 2007, the US imposed further sanctions after the outbreak of conflict in the western Darfur province.

The administration of former President Barack Obama later in October 2017, lifted some of the economic sanctions but left the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (DPAA) and the terrorism list designation.

In 2017, the U.S. government initiated talks with Bashir aimed at normalizing relations between the two countries, but these were suspended in April last year after the overthrow of Bashir.

Since last year, the transitional government in Sudan has been pushing for the removal of the country from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorists.

Now, several regional leaders have joined the calls for lifting of sanctions imposed on Sudan.

Amongst them are Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who represented President Yoweri Museveni, Kenyan Special Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, and Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Speaking during the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement between the Sudan transitional government and armed factions in the South Sudan capital of Juba, Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda lifting sanctions on Sudan will unlock the country’s potential.

“Uganda expresses support for the ongoing efforts to have Sudan removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in order to unlock the country’s potentials through improved investments and productions which will boost Sudan’s economy for the wellbeing of the Sudanese people,” said Ruhakana Rugunda.

Kenya’s special envoy to South Sudan, Kalonzo Musyoka, also echoed the same message.

“As part of collective ownership to this peace process, I urge the international community to reconsider and review the lifting of sanctions because they impede the development of the people of Sudan,” Musyoka said.

“Sanctions have never worked anywhere. And so this is the time to meet the people of Sudan halfway as they seek to consolidate the already wonderful gains that have been made under this agreement.”

However,  in June, sources in Washington said the United States will only lift sanctions on Sudan after a new government is elected.

Prime Minister Dr. Abdallah Hamdok who is heading a military-civilian government that is tasked with preparing for general elections in three years.

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