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US to ease sanctions against Sudan, broaden efforts

FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, students line up outside a classroom with a map of Africa on the wall, in Yei, in South Sudan. The Obama administration is to ease the sanctions against Sudan and broaden the now limited conversations with the long estranged African government, a u.s.-designated terrorism sponsor, whose leader is indicted for war crimes against The Associated Press learned Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch, File)

(Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is set to ease, but not the lifting of the sanctions against Sudan and broaden the now limited conversations with the long estranged African government, a u.s.-designated terrorism sponsor, whose leader is indicted for war crimes against.

The change in policy is a response to positive actions by the Sudanese government in the fight against terrorism, reduce conflict, denying safe haven to the South Sudanese rebels and improve the humanitarian access to people in need, three officials told The Associated Press.

The White House is expected to move to an easing of the sanctions on Friday as part of a five-track engagement process, said the officials, who are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and demanded anonymity.

She said that the government will keep in place the broad set of economic and financial sanctions in Sudan faces as a result of the “sponsor of terrorism” designation. The sanctions may be suspended by the modification of the policy could be re-imposed if Sudan backtracks on the progress it has made, the officials added.

In any case, decisions on the continuation of the diplomatic outreach will the incoming Trump administration, which takes office on Jan. 20. Any changes are likely to be furious segments of the human rights community, which has long been destroyed Khartoum’s Arab-led government for its behavior in Darfur and the treatment of various ethnic groups.

Outside of the recognition of Sudan’s improvements, the officials said the new approach signals a recognition that years of limited U.S. involvement in Khartoum had not resulted in the desired result. Such recognition fits into the general pattern under Obama of rapprochement with a rogue or antagonistic states, including Cuba, Iran and Myanmar.

The administration hinted at a policy change last fall.

In September, the State Department, has an out-of-the-blue statement welcoming Khartoum’s cooperation in the fight against Islamic extremist groups, without mention of a specific development or the reason for the public release. It said Sudan had taken “important steps” to take on the Islamic State group and other such organisations, adding that the U.S. would work with the country on the security during the pressing human rights and democracy.

At the time the department said the U.S. maintained a deep concern about Sudan’s policies, particularly in the treatment of unrest in the western Darfur region, but described normalized relations is not out of the question.

The department first labeled Sudan a sponsor of terrorism in 1993. Among those Sudan had harboured Osama bin laden, in which President Bill Clinton to the launch of the campaign in 1998. Sudan is one of only three countries still identified as such after Cuba is removed from the list in 2015. Syria and Iran are the others, although the Obama administration sealed a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran a year and a half ago.

Sudan changes have largely occurred under the radar. But the AMERICAN credits, the country with the limit of the travel of Islamic State militants, and move in the direction of better coordination with Saudi Arabia, and less with Iran. Israel has also printed in the united states take a friendlier relationship with Sudan after it cracked down on all the shipments of a suspected Iranian weapons to groups hostile to the Jewish state.

The announcement will certainly draw criticism from human rights organisations because of the persistent allegations of human rights violations, particularly in Darfur, and the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of the indictment of the International criminal court for related atrocities. Al-Bashir is wanted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide against.

Darfur has been gripped by bloodshed since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, to accuse of discrimination and neglect. The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

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