Sudan sanctions: USA lifts most economic restrictions after two decades

President Donald Trump

The United States permanently lifted trade sanctions against Sudan on Friday, the State Department announced.

The decision follows Sudanese efforts to work more closely with the United States on issues such as counterterrorism and human rights and is part of a general trend toward warmer relations.

The decision to lift the sanctions and end an economic embargo against Sudan comes after President Donald Trump's administration last month removed it from the list of countries whose citizens are subject to travel restrictions.

"Ties between Sudan and USA date back to before Sudan's independence and we are looking forward to fully normalizing relations and we feel that the Americans are now having the same desire", the top diplomat said.

It will also mark a major turnaround for the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

It came, she said, "in recognition of the Government of Sudan's sustained positive actions to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan".

Osama bin Laden, the slain Al-Qaeda founder, lived in Sudan between 1992 and 1996.

Andrew Prasow, from Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that lifting the sanctions "sent the wrong message" when Sudan had "made so little progress on human rights".

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Baru later joined Muslim faithful, including Buhari for the Juma'at service in a mosque inside the Presidential Villa. The meeting with Buhari is coming three days after a memo from the Minister to the president leaked to the press.

Other sanctions, including some also related to the Darfur conflict, will remain in place.

The Trump administration also secured a commitment from Sudan that it would "not pursue an arms deals" with North Korea, an official said.

Washington had imposed the sanctions in 1997 over Khartoum's alleged support to Islamist militant groups.

Shortly before leaving office, Obama temporarily eased penalties against the country. The State Department statement notes that "further normalization of ties will require continued progress by the Government of Sudan", and threatens to apply pressure if the Sudanese government regresses in any of the five areas.

The United States will lift some of its toughest long-standing economic and trade sanctions imposed on Sudan, according to U.S. officials.

The U.S. official who disclosed the decision spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement on Friday.

"Sudan looks forward to building normal relations with the United States", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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