Wednesday 7 November 2018
November 6, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - Sudan and the United States are expected to agree on a new plan for the removal of the east African nations from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Sudanese foreign minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan Tuesday started talks in Washington on the normalization of bilateral relations and the removal of his country from the terror list which the major obstacle in this respect.
The removal process is complex and requires a six-month-long review as well as the consent of the U.S. Congress which traditionally is made up of an active group of lawmakers hostile to the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
Sources close to the ongoing talks told Sudan Tribune that the new plan will be labelled the "five-track engagement +1" to say it would include important parts of the previous five-track engagement that led to the lift of the economic sanctions.
In October 2017, Washington decided the lift of a 20-year embargo on Sudan saying Khartoum has fully cooperated on five key areas of concerns agreed in December 2016.
These areas include the counterterrorism cooperation, the humanitarian access to the conflict areas, Sudan support to regional efforts to end the South Sudanese conflict and to fight against the Ugandan rebel Lord Resistance Army. In July 2017, Trump administration added the commitment to the international sanctions on North Korea.
The sources further pointed out that the focus in the new plan will be on the human rights and freedoms particularly religious freedom.
"So, this time Washington wants Khartoum to observe the international law and principles on this respects but also to amend its repressive and coercive laws," the sources said
"Khartoum, also, should issue a law banning the abusive destruction of churches by the Sudanese authorities," it stressed.
Sudan has already stopped the destruction of churches but didn’t formally ban it.
Recently, security agents in South Darfur detained and tortured a priest and 8 people forcing the latter to revert to Islam after their conversion to Christianity.
In November 2017 during a visit that Sullivan conducted to Khartoum, the two countries agreed to exchange written notes on the process before to meet for a better understanding.
During this year 2018, several American officials visited Sudan to discuss relations with North Korea, as a UN report unveiled contacts between Pyongyang and Khartoum.
In its report to the Security Council on 5 March 2018, a panel of UN experts on Security Council sanctions against North Korea reported suspected activities of North Korean nationals in Sudan in 2016 and 2017.
Recently, the Sudanese security and intelligence services blamed the local press for reporting the arrest of fake North Korean doctors in Khartoum saying there was no need to mention their nationality.
In the past, Khartoum informed Washington they had expelled all the North Korean nationals from the country.