Sudan-US Relation

The Political Climate
Sudan and the United States enjoy a long history of friendship and cooperation. Though numerous instances to demonstrate this fact can be sited, perhaps worth recalling is the humanitarian assistance the U.S. has in the past rendered during catastrophic periods of famine and drought in the country. Amongst the latest of its achievements is the peace it helped broker in 2005 that effectively ended the longest-running civil war in Africa. Sudan, for its part, has also been very instrumental in the U.S. war on terrorism, a contribution that the latter has on numerous occasions expressed gratitude. These are but a few examples of fruitful interaction that characterize cordial bilateral relations between the countries. Yet this legacy and potential for gainful cooperation is offset by the policies that the successive U.S. administrations have pursued towards Sudan.

President Obama’s inauguration ushered a new US policy that seemingly marked a clear departure from the hostile posture of its predecessors. It appeared to place emphasis on conciliatory diplomacy. Aggression and hostility towards Sudan is exemplified poignantly in how the conflict in Darfur was labeled as genocide, in US support for ICC and in many other ways. Although the genocide label and ICC support remain on record, by and large, this administration seems to be sensitive to the fact that such remarks can be inflammatory and has thus been frequently understanding and promoting of softer language. Only most recently did the tone and rhetoric begin to pick up pace again.

General Scott Gration’s appointment as full time US Special envoy to Sudan helped consolidate whatever minute policy shift that was. His personal predispositions infused in how he carried out his responsibilities had a great deal to do with that. He visited Darfur numerously; interacted with officials in Khartoum and South Sudan and was able to gain a firm grasp of the intricacies and complexity of the Sudanese issues. He mediated between parties and interacted with them in an unbiased manner.

The Envoy’s approach and determination showed promise for resolving contentious issues; for example Sanctions, Sudan’s presence on the list of states sponsoring terrorism and sub-optimal bilateral relations. He called for lifting the US imposed unilateral Sanctions. Clearly and rightly, he perceived them as hindrance to national Peace building and peace-making efforts. On this issue, he convened conferences; internally and externally. While his efforts did not yield much fruit, relaxation of trade licenses by the Treasury Department, is a sign in the right direction and creates a sense of cautious optimism. However, Sudan is keen to advocate for complete success.

What the Embassy can and is doing in this regard— The Embassy’s mission in this regard has been continuous engagement in dialogue with the special envoy’s office and other accessible US Institutions, with the Embassy leading the effort and the USSES complementing. We are focused on addressing these challenges. Also removal of the Sudan from the terrorism list draws particular attention. With US recognition of Sudan’s cooperation and relentless fight against terrorism (which we underline at any opportunity as a reminder), Sudan’s continued presence on that list is unjustified and harmful to our interests. For example, the survivors of US Cole, attacked in Yemen, and or the families of the victims have used the presence of Sudan on the terrorism list to siphon her frozen assets in frivolous lawsuits. Effort aimed at achieving this objective cannot be sufficiently stressed.

 



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