UAE welcomes lifting of partial United States sanctions on Sudan

The United States layered on more sanctions in 2006 for what it said was complicity in the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

Mohamed Atta, head of the Sudanese national intelligence and security services (NISS), told reporters in the capital Khartoum that the government will continue working with the administration of President-elect Donald Trump in fighting regional terrorism.

The revocation of the sanctions, however, will not take effect for another 180 days, and will occur only if Sudan sustains "these positive actions" over the next six months, Obama said in a letter to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. The decision grew out of months of negotiations, as the USA ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, explained to reporters in NY. One longtime Sudan watcher, Eric Reeves of Harvard, says USA officials tend to overstate Sudan's cooperation on counterterrorism.

Atta stressed that Sudan is ready to deal with any counter-attacks resulting from its counter-terrorism cooperation with the USA and reiterated that the US should remove Sudan from its list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide group, called the lifting of sanctions "premature" and said any easing of pressure on Sudan should be in exchange for resolving conflicts in Darfur and South Kordofan Nuba Mountains, and ensuring humanitarian access for those affected by the war and military blockades.

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The United States first imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997, including a trade embargo and blocking the government's assets, for human rights violations and terrorism concerns.

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, called the decision "inexplicable" and said there had been no progress on ongoing war crimes, crimes against humanity in Darfur and other conflict zones, and repression of opponents.

In 1998, the United States launched airstrikes on Sudan, a North African nation with a majority Arab population, over the harboring of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. It's unlikely that the USA would commit to any engagement directly with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide charges. The U.N. says up to 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Darfur.

The Obama administration, however, claims the easing of sanctions against Sudan is due to the country's willingness to restrict movement of Islamic State jihadists and its supposed shift toward aligning with Saudi Arabia as opposed to Iran.