Washington- The United States on Thursday praised Sudan’s efforts in fighting terrorism ahead of a decision expected in October on whether to lift decades-old sanctions on Khartoum.
At a time when Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced that his country was pursuing its efforts to lift sanctions on Sudan, his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour said he had received pledges from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the sanctions would be fully lifted in October.
“The United States notes Sudan’s improved counterterrorism efforts through enhanced inter-agency and international cooperation to address the threat from ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said in a statement.
Washington “welcomes the recent announcements by the governments of Sudan and Saudi Arabia underscoring Sudan’s commitment to sustain positive dialogue with the United States,” the statement added.
Relations between Washington and Khartoum improved significantly under the administration of former US president Barack Obama, who had in January eased the sanctions imposed in 1997 with a view to lifting them completely after a six month review.
President Donald Trump last week extended the review period to October 12, angering Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who initially announced he would cut-off talks before reversing his decision and saying he would continue to work for an end to the embargo.
The US outlined “five tracks” that Sudan must adhere to, including an end to hostilities against armed groups in Sudan, halting support for insurgents in neighboring South Sudan and counterterrorism cooperation with Washington.
Washington imposed a complex set of economic sanctions on Sudan in 1997 for its alleged backing of militant groups, including al-Qaeda.
Earlier this week, Jubeir said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is working with Khartoum to improve its relations with the US, lift sanctions imposed on it and remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
“We believe that Sudan has achieved significant progress to reach lifting these sanctions and lift the name of Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and we continue in our efforts to coordinate with Sudan and others in the region to find a solution to this situation, so that Sudan can return to its normal state and focus on development, economy and prosperity.”