Wash­ing­ton ex­tends re­view pe­riod for Su­dan sanctions

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day opted to ex­tend by three months the dead­line on whether to lift decades-old sanctions against Su­dan, say­ing “more time is needed” for re­view. Trump was to de­cide yes­ter­day whether to per­ma­nently lift Wash­ing­ton’s sanctions on Su­dan after his pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama eased the em­bargo in Jan­uary but kept Khar­toum on a six-month re­view pe­riod. In his ex­ec­u­tive or­der Trump amended the dead­line to Oc­to­ber 12, 2017. Obama made the per­ma­nent lift­ing of sanctions de­pen­dent on Khar­toum’s progress on five ar­eas of con­cern at the end of the re­view pe­riod.

“I have de­cided more time is needed for this re­view to es­tab­lish that the Gov­ern­ment of Su­dan has demon­strated suf­fi­cient pos­i­tive ac­tion across all of those ar­eas,” Trump’s or­der said, adding that “the Gov­ern­ment of Su­dan has made some progress”. Wash­ing­ton im­posed a com­plex set of eco­nomic sanctions on Su­dan in 1997 for its al­leged back­ing of Is­lamist mil­i­tant groups. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US com­mando raid in Pakistan in 2011, was based in Khar­toum from 1992 to 1996.

Wash­ing­ton also jus­ti­fied the em­bargo with ac­cu­sa­tions of scorched-earth tac­tics by Khar­toum against eth­nic mi­nor­ity rebels in war-torn Dar­fur.

At least 300,000 peo­ple have been killed and 2.5 mil­lion dis­placed since a bru­tal con­flict erupted in Dar­fur in 2003, the United Na­tions says. Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar Al-Bashir is wanted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court for geno­cide and war crimes re­lated to the con­flict in Dar­fur, charges he stead­fastly de­nies. Prior to Trump’s mea­sure, the United Na­tions said it hoped the United States would make a “pos­i­tive de­ci­sion” on sanctions against Su­dan for al­low­ing more hu­man­i­tar­ian aid ac­cess across war zones as sought. Giv­ing more ac­cess to hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers was one of the five con­di­tions Obama in­sisted Su­dan must meet be­fore the sanctions can be lifted per­ma­nently. Obama’s other con­di­tions in­cluded coun­tert­er­ror­ism co­op­er­a­tion with the United States, an end to hos­til­i­ties against armed groups in Su­dan and halt­ing sup­port for in­sur­gents in neigh­bor­ing South Su­dan. Sev­eral think tanks had called for ex­tend­ing the re­view pe­riod, say­ing Khar­toum needed to do more for the em­bargo to be lifted.

After Trump de­layed the de­ci­sion, Wash­ing­ton-based think tank Enough Project said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion should now de­vise a new set of “smart and mod­ern­ized” sanctions that would spare the Su­danese peo­ple.

The new sanctions should “tar­get those who are most re­spon­si­ble for grand cor­rup­tion and atroc­i­ties, in­clud­ing air strikes on vil­lages, at­tacks on churches, ob­struc­tion of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, jail­ing and tor­tur­ing op­po­si­tion fig­ures and civil so­ci­ety lead­ers, steal­ing elec­tions, and un­der­min­ing peace ef­forts”, John Pren­der­gast, found­ing di­rec­tor of Enough Project, said in a state­ment.—AFP

JUBA: In this file photo, Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar Al-Bashir speaks after meet­ing with South Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir, in the cap­i­tal Juba, South Su­dan.—AP

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