US to remove Sudan from sponsors of terrorism list

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) introduces the new US special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, at the State Department in Washington, DC, on March 31, 2011. AFRICA REVIEW | AFP 

The United States government is working to remove Sudan from the list of so-called sponsors of terrorism, a top US official said.

Newly-posted US special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman told to Africa Review in Addis Ababa that the Barack Obama administration is “working on a ground rules” to remove Sudan from the list.

According to the envoy, the process involves setting up a special committee to “study the innocence” of the Sudan regime.

It is this committee which will review whether or not Sudan has met the criteria for removal from the list.

The committee will present its preliminary report to president Obama this month.

US is also considering lifting economic sanctions against Sudan if the latter co-operates over Darfur as well as successfully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 between north and south Sudan parties.

Mr Lyman said ease of humanitarian operations and free movement for UN/AU hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in Darfur are among the pre-conditions for lifting the economic sanctions.

Former foe

Sudan, once considered a foe of the US, is also hoping for an immediate write-off of its US debt and that in other multilateral bodies in which the US has leverage.

Mr Lyman has confirmed that his country had started negotiations with the World Bank to write off the Sudanese debt as an incentive package for Sudanese peace.

Ahead of the Sudanese referendum in January, the US government offered economic and political incentives to the Sudanese government.

Despite the incentives, the US warned against a possible conflict in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region.

“This is an issue which each side (north and south) deeply invested politically and economically” Mr Lyman said.

He said both the south and north had been deploying troops in the area and mistrust was widening.

“Both leaders tell me officially and personally they don’t want to go to war,” he added.

He was referring to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

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