Obama to ease sanctions against Sudan

Days before leaving office, the Obama administration to ease sanctions against Sudan in response to its "positive actions".

Ben Ariel,

Flag of Sudan
Flag of Sudan

Days before President Barack Obama leaves office, his administration is set to ease sanctions against Sudan, a U.S.-designated terrorism sponsor, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Three officials told the news agency that the change in policy is a response to positive actions by the Sudanese government in fighting terrorism, reducing conflict, denying safe haven to South Sudanese rebels and improving humanitarian access to people in need.

The United States imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997, during the administration of Bill Clinton. The sanctions include a trade embargo and blocking the government's assets. Additional sanctions were imposed in 2006 for complicity in the violence in Darfur.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AP, the White House is expected to announce an easing of sanctions on Friday as part of a five-track engagement process.

Another official who spoke to the Reuters news agency said the lifting of the sanctions had no bearing on Sudan's designation by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Decisions on continuing the diplomatic outreach with Sudan will be up to the incoming Trump administration, which takes office on January 20.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide.

Sudan has in the past cooperated with Iran. Iranian warships regularly dock in Port Sudan, in what Khartoum describes as “routine” visits, but at the same time the country became one of several countries to cut ties with the Islamic Republic this past year, following riots at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran over the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr Al-Nimr.