Sudan halts US talks after sanction decision postponed


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has halted until October 12 the work of a committee formed with the United States to negotiate relief from US sanctions, the Sudanese state news agency SUNA said.

The move comes a day after the United States said it had postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift sanctions imposed on Sudan, partly over concern about human rights issues.

Former US President Barack Obama temporarily lifted the 20-year sanctions for six months in January, suspending a trade embargo, unfreezing assets and removing financial sanctions that hampered the country’s economy.

But to earn permanent relief, Sudan was required to comply with five demands. They included resolving internal military conflicts in areas such as war-torn Darfur, co-operating on counter-terrorism and improving access to humanitarian aid.
“We regret the issuing of this decision, which came after a long period of dialogue and interaction with the US,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said after the decision on lifting sanctions was postponed.

The North African country wants to regain access to the global banking system, potentially unlocking badly needed trade and foreign investment. It needs both to cope with an inflation rate of 35% and a shortage of foreign currency that has crippled its ability to purchase from abroad.
“European countries, regional and international institutions and some American institutions recognise Sudan has fulfilled the five-track plan in whole and this has been confirmed in technical meetings with the American side,” Ghandour said, referring to the list of US demands.