Sudan says US reneged on promise to lift curbs

Updated 03 November 2012

Sudan says US reneged on promise to lift curbs

KHARTOUM: Sudan has accused the US of reneging on commitments to remove sanctions, after Washington extended the 15-year-old trade restrictions.
Then-president Bill Clinton imposed the embargo in 1997 over Sudan’s support for international terrorism, efforts to destabilize neighboring governments, and human rights violations.
President Barack Obama has approved the sanctions for another year, saying the actions of the Sudanese government “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
This year’s sanctions renewal came one week after Sudan accused Israel of sending four radar-evading aircraft to strike a military factory, which exploded and burned in the heart of Khartoum at midnight on Oct. 23.
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry called the US sanctions “basically political,” with the aim of hindering the country’s development. It said the embargo benefits armed rebel groups while violating international law.
“Many times the American administration agreed that Sudan is meeting its commitments but they are always retreating from their promises to remove the sanctions,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The Sudanese government repeats its strong rejection of the sanctions renewal and strongly condemns the behavior of the American administration.”
From 1991 to 1996 Sudan hosted Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan by US Navy SEALS last year.
The US State Department continues to list Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism but, in a July report, said Khartoum was “a cooperative counterterrorism partner” last year.
Except for Hamas, the government “does not openly support the presence of terrorist elements within its borders,” the report said.
It added that Sudan maintains a relationship with Iran, another terrorism sponsor.
The sanctions limit access to external financing for Sudan’s indebted economy, which lost the bulk of its export revenue when South Sudan separated in July last year with most of the country’s oil production.


Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 23 min 36 sec ago

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.