Obama Administration To Loosen Sanctions Against Sudan

Jan 16, 2017, 00:15

"The Obama administration's decision to "ease" sanctions is inexplicable", said Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch.

President Barack Obama's executive order is an acknowledgment of the "positive steps taken by the Government of Sudan over the past several months and aim to further incentivize the Government of Sudan to continue to improve its conduct", said Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury's acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, according to the statement. Such an acknowledgement fits with a general pattern under Obama of rapprochement with rogue or antagonistic states, including Cuba, Iran and Myanmar.

It is noteworthy that Sudan's Finance Minister Badr al-Din Mahmoud on Saturday announced they are developing a comprehensive plan to review the foreign exchange policy in light of Washington's decision to ease sanctions.

The State Department first designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993.

The administration hinted at a policy shift last fall. It layered on more sanctions in 2006 for what it said was complicity in the violence in Darfur. Earlier Friday, Trump said he would consider lifting the restrictions, depending on how helpful the Russians are in the fight against terrorism, as well as assisting with other goals that he feels are important to the US.

On September 20, the U.S. state department welcomed efforts by Sudan to increase counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.

The adjustment would be a welcome change for Sudan, one of the world's poorest nations.

Sudan's changes have largely occurred beneath the radar.

The country's long-time leader President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for War Crimes. But the USA credits the country with limiting travel of Islamic State militants and shifting toward greater alignment with Saudi Arabia, and less with Iran.

Sudan, he said, "has been cooperating and coordinating with the U.S. since before 2000 in the struggle against terrorism", he said.

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