Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sudan Says US Special Envoy Should Focus on Normalizing Ties


Sudan says US special envoy should focus on normalising ties

November 26, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The United States Special Envoy to the Sudans Donald Booth should make normalising ties between Khartoum and Washington a priority if he is to fulfil his peace mandate.

U.S. special envoy Donald Booth talks to reporters after a meeting with the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti (SUNA)
The spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry, Abu Bakr al-Sideeg told pro-government Ashorooq TV that if the US wants to have a role in efforts for peace and stability in Sudan "the logical thing to have a normal and mutual trust relationship that would pave the way for the US to have a positive contribution in Sudanese issues".

Following Booth’s appointment in late August, Sudan said it is awaiting his arrival to see if he will offer a clear “road map” to resolve the issues between the two countries or not.

"If the new U.S. envoy has a clear roadmap for relations between Khartoum and Washington, including helping to resolve the remaining files, we welcome this role but if he goes to other issues we will certainly move away from him," Sudan foreign minister Ali Karti said at the time.

Sudan has been under the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harbouring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror" over the last decade.

Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.

The US has promised to remove Sudan’s terrorism designation if it facilitated South Sudan’s referendum and recognize its results. South Sudan voted to secede from Sudan in January 2011 and declared independence in July that year.

However, the conflicts that erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile border states last year as well as lack of progress on post-referendum matters made Washington attach additional conditions for the de-listing process.

The US special envoy is currently on a tour of the region which took him to Ethiopia, Qatar and Egypt.

According to Cairo-based Daily News, a US embassy official said that Booth met with Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy and Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Arabi.

Booth presented Fahmy with the US administration’s strategy to achieve a lasting peace between Sudan and South Sudan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The pair discussed “mediation efforts relating to the Darfur crisis and the political, security and humanitarian situation in the [Sudanese] states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.”

They also addressed some of the outstanding issues that exist including the disputed region of the oil rich Abyei District on the border between the two countries.


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