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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

U.S. sanctions relief will improve Sudan economy - say analysts

KHARTOUM (Xinhua) -- Sudanese politicians and economic analysts on Saturday expressed the belief that the U.S. decision to lift some economic sanctions on Sudan will improve Sudan’s economy which has suffered from the U.S. embargo for 20 years.

“Lifting the U.S sanctions on Sudan was one of the great hopes upon which foreign and national investors build,” Sudanese Investment Minister Mudathir Abdel-Ghani said here on Saturday.

According to him, due to the U.S. long-term economic sanctions, Sudan has had difficulties in cash transfers and direct equipment and investment movements in the past two decades.

“The U.S. decision came at an important phase coinciding with the economic reforms (of Sudan),” Abdel-Ghani said. “This move enables investors to carry out their banking transactions freely and facilitate the movement of capital to Sudan.”

In Sudan, industry was one of the most affected sectors by U.S. sanctions, as the sector has been prevented from importing strategic commodities, equipment and spare parts.

“We were unable to import spare parts for the industrial sector,” Sudanese Industry Minister Abdou Daoud said, “We used to get spare parts through mediators.”

The easing of sanctions would help Sudan import industrial commodities more freely, he said.

The U.S. sanctions upon the African country have also caused a shortage of medicines and soaring prices. The easing of the sanctions would help increase medicines at the Sudanese market and lower the prices, the Sudanese National Medicines and Poisons Board said.

Sudanese economic analyst Abdul-Khaliq Mahjoub gave Xinhua a list of the direct positive effects of the easing of sanctions.

“The release of frozen assets is likely to improve the foreign exchange market and raise the value of the national currency,” said Mahjoub.

“The exports will also witness a great flourishing as a result of the arrival of Sudanese products to American and European markets which were used to be closed,” he noted.

After the easing of sanctions, Sudanese companies will be able to present their shares in New York Stock Exchange and in international stock exchanges to get funds to expand their business, the analyst added.

On Friday, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama announced his decision to lift a 20-year-old trade embargo, unfreeze assets and remove financial sanctions against Sudan, as a response to Sudan’s cooperation in fighting Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

However, the sanctions relief will be pending for 180 days for review, leaving the final decision to President-elect Donald Trump and his administration.

The United States has been imposing sanctions on Sudan since 1997. Since then, Washington has been renewing its sanctions on Sudan due to the continuing war in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, along with a number of outstanding issues with South Sudan, including the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei.

However, last February, the United States announced its decision to loosen the sanctions on Sudan by allowing the export of personal communications hardware and software, including smart phones and laptops.

In October 2015, Washington also expressed its willingness to cooperate with Sudan in counter-terrorism and preventing the flow of terrorists to Sudan and other conflict areas.

According to economic reports, Sudan’s annual loss from the U.S. sanctions amounts to over 4 billion U.S. dollars. It has also been suffering an escalating economic crisis since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

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UPDATE:

Khartoum says U.S. decision to ease sanctions “right, not reward”

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese government on Saturday said the U.S. lifting of some sanctions on Sudan is Sudan’s natural right, not a reward, as Khartoum has not provided any concessions for it.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir described the U.S. decision as a “positive” development and reiterated that Sudan would press ahead with building natural ties with the United States.

During a meeting in Khartoum Saturday with the committee entrusted to have dialogue with the United States, al-Bashir said: “The sanctions lifting decision comes at a time when Sudan is completing the process of national dialogue and heading towards the formation of a national consensus government.”

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, meanwhile, noted that “the government has not provided any concessions.”

“The principle of counterterrorism is part of an international program and Sudan is committed to combating terrorism,” said Ghandour.

Chief of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services Mohamed Atta al-Moula Abbas told reporters that “our religion and values necessitate us to combat terrorism and extremism.”

“We used to complain about the U.S contradicting manner in its cooperation with the Sudanese bodies regarding combating terrorism and keeping Sudan on its list of countries harboring terrorism,” he noted. (   On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama decided to cancel two executive orders that impose economic sanctions on Sudan, citing recent “positive actions” by the Sudanese government.

The United States has had Sudan on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism since 1993 and has been imposing sanctions on Sudan since 1997.

Since then, Washington has been renewing its sanctions on Sudan due to the continuing war in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions besides a number of outstanding issues with South Sudan, including the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei.

According to economic reports, Sudan’s losses due to the U.S. sanctions amounted to over 4 billion U.S. dollars annually.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Sudan eyes full normalization of ties with U.S.

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese top diplomat said Saturday that his country expected full normalization of relations between Sudan and the U.S. after the latter lifted part of economic sanctions imposed on Sudan.

“The U.S. decision on lifting the economic sanctions on Sudan came as a result of a comprehensive dialogue that has continued for about two years,” said Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudan’s foreign minister, at a press conference in the capital Khartoum.

“We reiterate our full commitment to cooperate with the new U.S. administration,” he said. “We expect America to be committed too.”

Ghandour stressed the importance of the U.S. decision to lift sanctions on Sudan, saying “these decisions will remove all the barriers which have been crippling the flow of investments to Sudan.”

On Friday, the outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama issued a decision to cancel two executive orders imposing economic sanctions on Sudan.

In response, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry praised the decision as “a fruit of a close cooperation between the two countries in international and regional issues of mutual concern.”

The United States has been imposing sanctions on Sudan since 1997 and putting it on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism since 1993.

Since then, Washington has been renewing its sanctions on Sudan due to the continuing war in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, in addition to a number of outstanding issues with South Sudan such as the territorial dispute over the oil-rich Abyei area.

In Feb. 2015, however, the U.S. announced its decision to loosen sanctions on Sudan by allowing exports of personal communications hardware and software including smart phones and laptops, in what it said a move to help the Sudanese integrate into the global digital community.

According to economic reports, Sudan’s losses due to the U.S. sanctions amount to more than 4 billion U.S. dollars annually.

Moreover, Sudan has been witnessing an escalating economic crisis since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, as the country has lost about 70 percent of its oil revenues.
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South Sudan welcomes U.S. lifting of sanctions on Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said on Monday that it welcomed the U.S. lifting of some sanctions on its northern neighbor Sudan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol said in Juba that his government will benefit from a sanction-free Sudan.

"Anything that is good for Sudan is good for us," Makol said.

He also said that recent exchange visits by high profile delegations from the two former civil war foes, have helped build improved relations, with financial arrangement on oil and final work on border demarcation currently underway.

"Of course, financial agreement on oil, final work on border demarcation is critical. We have been doing this (border demarcation) very nice, recently our foreign affairs minister visited Sudan and there is hope that another delegation will go to Khartoum soon," Makol said.
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Sudan extends cease-fire for six more months

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan’s Council of Ministers decided Sunday to extend a cease-fire between the government army and all rebels for six more months.

The decision came at an extraordinary meeting chaired by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

On Dec. 31, 2016, al-Bashir announced an extension of the cease-fire for one month in all conflict areas in Sudan, including Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

Since 2011, the Sudanese government has been fighting the rebels from Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/northern sector in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, despite 10 rounds of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

             

 

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