Saturday, August 29, 2015

US Procrastinates in Visa Issuance for Sudanese Parliamentary Delegation: MP
August 28, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - A Sudanese MP has accused the United States of dragging its feet on granting visa to Sudan’s parliamentary speaker to participate in a world conference in New York this week.

The Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament will be held at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York from 31 August to 2 September 2015.

Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, an MP from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) told Sudan Tribune that the parliament filed visa applications at the US embassy in Khartoum for a delegation comprised of eight MPs seeking to participate in the conference.

He pointed the delegation includes the parliamentary speaker, Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, former parliamentary speaker, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir, deputy chairman of the Council of States (upper house), Ibrahim Habbani besides three other MPs and protocol officers.

Al-Amin, who also the deputy chairman of the United Nations affairs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said the conference is convened under the auspices of the UN every five years.

He said the US has neither issued the visas nor did it deny the applications, saying embassy officials told them the applications have been submitted to the competent authorities in Washington and they are still under process.

“Practically speaking, visas won’t be granted to the delegation because Saturday and Sunday are holidays in the US and we don’t know whether the [visas] were denied for political or bureaucratic reasons?” he added.

Al-Amin emphasized that under the UN headquarters agreement; Washington is obligated to issue visas for officials seeking to participate in UN events, saying the US is intervening in the UN work.

He disclosed that Sudan’s ministers of finance and foreign affairs will participate in a UN world conference on sustainable development goals next September, expecting that nothing would hinder their participation.

It is worth mentioning that the Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir sought to fly to the US in September 2013 to participate in the meetings of the UN General Assembly but Washington dragged its feet on granting him the visa without rejecting it outright.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labelled as genocide.

Furthermore, Sudan was placed on the US terrorism list in 1993 over allegations it was harbouring Islamist militants working against regional and international targets.


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