US lifts Sudan sanctions

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2017
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US lifts Sudan sanctions

WASHINGTON: The United States lifted long-standing sanctions against Sudan on Friday, saying it had made progress fighting terrorism and easing humanitarian distress, and also secured Khartoum’s  commitment not to pursue arms deals with North Korea.

In a move that completes a process begun by former President Barack Obama and which was opposed by human rights groups, President Donald Trump removed a U.S. trade embargo and other penalties that had effectively cut Sudan off from much of the global financial system.

The U.S. decision marked a major turnaround for the government of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, who once played host to Osama bin Laden and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur.

The lifting of sanctions reflects a U.S. 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 officials said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sanctions relief was in recognition of Sudan's "sustained positive actions" but that more improvement was needed.

The Trump administration also secured a commitment from Sudan that it would "not pursue arms deals" with North Korea, and Washington will apply "zero tolerance" in ensuring Khartoum's compliance, one of the officials said.

But they said Khartoum's assurances on North Korea were not a condition for lifting sanctions, some of which had been in place for 20 years and have hobbled the Sudanese economy. The official said Khartoum was not believed to have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and that was not expected to change.
Sudan also has recently distanced itself diplomatically from Iran, another U.S. arch-foe.

Arab News has learned from sources that the Sudanese government has praised Saudi efforts in persuading the US government to lift sanctions.

What does lifting of US sanctions against Sudan mean?


Syria state media: rebels reportedly agree surrender deal in Al-Quneitra

Updated 19 July 2018
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Syria state media: rebels reportedly agree surrender deal in Al-Quneitra

  • If verified, the move would mark another major victory for President Bashar Assad
  • Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders

BEIRUT/AMMAN: The Syrian state news agency SANA said on Thursday there are reports that rebels had agreed a surrender deal in the southwestern province of Al-Quneitra at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
If verified, the move would mark another major victory for President Bashar Assad, who has recovered swathes of southwestern Syria over the last month in a Russian-backed offensive that has forced many rebels to surrender.
SANA, citing its correspondent, said the deal stipulated a return of the Syrian army to positions it held prior to 2011, when the Syrian conflict erupted.
Citing reports, SANA said the agreement “stipulates the departure to Idlib of terrorists who reject the settlement” and allowed those who wish to remain to “settle” their status with the authorities, meaning accepting a return of Assad’s rule.
A rebel source sent a copy of what he said was the final agreement — that included a provision that Russian military police would accompany two Syrian army brigades into a demilitarized zone that has been in place on the Golan Heights since 1974.
The zone was agreed after the 1973 Middle Eastern war.
There would be further negotiations on a deadline for handing over medium and heavy weapons, according to the agreement sent by the rebel source.
US President Donald Trump said at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki that both had agreed to work together to help ensure Israel’s security.
Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders to the state that prevailed before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011.