President Obama Eases Sanctions Against Sudan

President Obama Eases Sanctions Against Sudan

A senior U.S official said on Thurday that the Obama administration plans to ease some financial sanctions against Sudan in recognition to what the American government says are small areas of improvement in fighting terrorism and other US goals.

Sudan has agreed to bring peace to Darfur, south Kordofan, and the Blue Nile within six months as part of a five-track deal between Washington and Khartoum which includes the lifting of two decades of economic sanctions from Sudan.

The U.S. has sanctioned Sudan for almost three decades dating back to the 1990's.

Mr Khidir said Khartoum was "determined to pursue its cooperation with the United States until Sudan is removed from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism".

"The Obama administration is sending the worst possible message to Sudan and other repressive governments: If you cooperate on counterterrorism, then all abuses - including by your president - will be ignored", said the group's Africa director, Leslie Lefkow.

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On Sept. 20 the State Department issued a statement on increased cooperation with Sudan, saying the government had taken steps to counter Islamic State and "other terrorist groups and has sought to prevent their movement into and through Sudan". The U.S. designated Sudan, which once hosted al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993.

Last November, Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) introduced an incentive policy, increasing the exchange rate in commercial banks by 131%. The decision grew out of months of negotiations, as the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, explained to reporters in NY.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government, accusing it of discrimination. With a population of roughly 40 million, Sudan has a gross domestic product of about $4,400 per capita, compared to $56,100 in the USA, according to data from the Central Intelligence Agency.

The announcement will surely draw criticism from human rights groups because of ongoing allegations of rights abuses, notably in Darfur, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's indictment by the International Criminal Court for related atrocities.

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