US Remains Committed to “Positive Engagement” with Sudan

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The United States on Tuesday reiterated readiness to begin process of removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“The United States is prepared to initiate the process of rescinding Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism — if the determination is made that all of the relevant statutory criteria have been met, and if Sudan makes progress in addressing each of the six key areas of mutual concern prioritized by the Phase II framework,” U.S. Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

The completion of the Five Track Engagement Plan and the lifting of certain sanctions in October 2017 marked an important milestone in U.S.-Sudanese relations, according to a statement by the United States government.

The statement further says that the “progress thus far serves as only the first step in a longer road to improving bilateral relations.”

“We have therefore launched the “Phase II” framework for our bilateral engagement, which is designed to expand our cooperation, facilitate meaningful reforms in Sudan, and achieve further progress in a number of areas of longstanding mutual concern,” the statement adds.

“The United States remains committed to positive engagement with Sudan and to achieving our shared goals on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.”

The United States believes that Phase II has the potential to make the U.S.-Sudan relationship more productive than it has been in 30 years, providing us an opportunity to expand cooperation and achieve improvements in a number of key areas of mutual concern, including the protection of religious freedom and other human rights.

Phase II will also serve as a mechanism for securing justice for victims of terrorist violence.

According to the statement, shared Phase II priorities include:

(1)           expanding counterterrorism cooperation;

(2)           enhancing human rights protections and practices;

(3)           Improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan;

(4)           Ceasing internal hostilities to create a conducive

environment for progress in Sudan’s peace process;

(5)         Taking necessary steps to address certain outstanding

terrorism-related claims; and

(6)           Adhering to UN Security Council resolutions related to

North Korea.

As part of this engagement, the United States is prepared to initiate the process of rescinding Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism — if the determination is made that all of the relevant statutory criteria have been met, and if Sudan makes progress in addressing each of the six key areas of mutual concern prioritized by the Phase II framework.

“We are pleased with Sudan’s stated commitment to strengthen its institutional capacities to counter terrorist financing and money laundering.  Fighting money laundering and terrorist financing is a priority for the United States.  This is an area of our growing and successful counterterrorism partnership where we can cooperate more in the coming months.“

In addition, as Sudan seeks to establish correspondent banking relationships with U.S. and other banks, these enhanced efforts to fight terrorist financing and money laundering will help demonstrate that Sudan is increasing its capacity to manage financial risks and develop regulatory and supervisory frameworks that meet international standards and can facilitate trade and economic growth.  We appreciate Sudan’s efforts to counter money laundering and terrorist financing during this critical time.

Similarly, we welcome the Sudanese government’s commitment to protect and defend human rights, including press and religious freedoms.  We are ready to cooperate with Sudan and to monitor progress as we seek meaningful improvements for the benefit of the Sudanese people and the region.