Sudan gold revenues reach $1,6 billion in first half of 2017

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July 18, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Ministry of Minerals on Tuesday said revenues of gold exports during the first half of 2017 has amounted to $1,6 billion.

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Gold bullion blocks pictured at a gold refinery in Khartoum on 11 October 2012 (SUNA)

According to the ministry’s semi-annual performance report, the gold production of the first half of this year reached 50.22 tonnes during the first half of this year, saying the share of traditional mining sector reached 42,6 tonnes.

The report pointed that the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) has exported 16,1 tonnes while the private sector exported 2,2 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the minister of minerals Hashim Ali Salim has called for the need to form a committee to review policies pertaining to buying and selling of gold, demanding revising mining laws and the fees imposed on gold prospectors.

Sudan currently ranks third in gold production behind South Africa and Ghana but aims to land in the first place by 2018.

Gold has become one of Sudan’s largest exports which partially compensated for the loss in oil revenues, which accounted for more than 50% of income until 2011 when South Sudan seceded, taking with it most of the country’s oil reserves.

Sudan approved a law to regulate traditional mining by granting licenses and specifying areas to work in to protect them from hazardous conditions and smuggling.

It is believed that traditional mining employs more than a million Sudanese but it is still difficult to obtain credible data.

(ST)

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Al-Bashir, Saudi Monarch discuss regional developments

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July 18, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Tuesday have discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries besides recent developments in the region.

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FILE – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir shaking hands with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (Riyadh newspaper)

Al-Bashir arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday for the second leg of his Arab Gulf tour that also took him to the UAE.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the two leaders “reviewed relations between the two brotherly countries and developments in the region”.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to work together to promote cooperation to serve the common interests of the two countries.

The meeting was attended by Governor of Makkah Region Prince Khaled Al Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz and the Minister of State and Member of the Council of Ministers, Prince Mansour bin Mteib bin Abdul Aziz from the Saudi side.

It was also attended by the Minister of State Fadl Abdallah Fadl, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, Minister of State, Director of the Office of President Hatim Hassan Bakhit, and Sudan’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Abdel-Basit Al-Sanousi from the Sudanese side.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt severed ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting Islamist terrorist groups and arch-foe Iran. But Doha vehemently denies the charges.

Sudan is among the Arab states that refused to take part in the ongoing diplomatic crisis and declared its support for the Kuwaiti efforts to settle the rift.

(ST)

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Sudan agrees to continue to communicate positively with US at the request of Saudi Arabia

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Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir praised the distinct and strong relations that his country have with Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir praised the distinct and strong relations that his country have with Saudi Arabia, expressing his appreciation for the Kingdom’s efforts in serving the Muslims and thanking it for its continued support to Sudan in all fields.

According to a statement by the Sudanese presidency, his Excellency also thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for its efforts to improve relations between Sudan and the United States.

The statement added that: “In this context and in response to the request of the leadership of Saudi Arabia, President Omar al-Bashir agreed to continue to communicate positively with the government and the official offices of the United States in the coming period in order to lift the final sanctions imposed on Sudan as well as remove the name of Sudan off the list of countries sponsoring terrorism and resolve all the existing problems between the two countries. The President also thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for those efforts.”

According to the statement, the two sides stressed the importance of combating and financing terrorism and extremism since they are the greatest threat to peaceful societies throughout the world, and affirmed their commitment to all international resolutions in this regard.

Last Update: Wednesday, 19 July 2017 KSA 00:42 – GMT 21:42
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Cholera: Situation in El Dindir worsens, six dead in South Darfur

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July 18 – 2017 EL DINDIR / ZAMZAM CAMP / EL SALAM CAMP

The area of El Dindir in Sennar state recorded 31 deaths by cholera this week. In a collaborative report doctors found that the local health centres are too ill-equipped to effectively treat all infected people.

The population in El Dindir, amounting to more than 193,000 people in 88 villages in the southeastern state, are under threat from contracting the infectious disease, according to a new report by the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.

There have been 45 people who died from cholera and 280 cases of infection in the hospitals and health centres in the locality. “These numbers will rise in the poor conditions of the health centres,” the report, published on Monday, reads. “The buildings are ill-equipped and lacking cadres and aides.”

An increase in the number of cases in the past days coincided with a poor drinking water supply, the doctors said, in particular with regard to the rainy season in the summer months. The area is known for high rainfall during these months.

The most recent deadly cholera victims were reported in El Tamrab village on Monday, from a total of 31 people who died from cholera.

Yesterday Osman El Jazouli, the media official of the youth of El Hawadith Street, told Radio Dabanga that a delegation of youths from El Hawadith Street and El Dindir Voluntary Organisation paid a field visit to the villages of El Dugag, Weddoda, El Dabur, Um Sakmbari, Dabarati, Um Rakhis, Nureljalil and Azaza to assess the situation.

El Jazouli appealed to the authorities to provide awareness about the epidemic, education and medicines for the patients. Also to speed-up the deployment of specialist who can educate people on how to deal with people who suffer from cholera, and how to fight the disease.

Short on material

Residents have been asked to provide in-kind and material support to contain the epidemic. Radio Dabanga reported this week that El Dindir locality is short of rehydration solutions and medical staff.

An activist in El Dindir reported to Radio Dabanga that the hospitalised cases at one of the medical isolation centres have amounted to thirteen people.

He called for the provision of awareness about hygienic environments, in light of the government’s inaction. The Sudanese authorities and humanitarian relief organisations in the country refuse to make any reference to the disease being cholera.

Darfur camps

In Darfur’s Zamzam camp for displaced people three new cases of cholera were recorded. Reports from El Salam camp south of Nyala in South Darfur also reported cases of cholera and deaths: six people died last week. There were seventeen cases of infection in total, volunteers said.

The volunteer warned of increased rates of infection in El Salam camp and the surrounding villages when the rainy season peaks in South Darfur. Starting mid-June, torrential rains swept through camps, leaving the streets flooded and numbers of families homeless.

Cholera is a fast-developing, highly contagious infection that can spread in areas short of clean drinking water and with poor sanitation. In September last year Radio Dabanga received the first reports about cholera cases, in Blue Nile state. Since then, the disease spread in eastern Sudan, and later to the Northern State and central Sudan’s El Gezira. In April, sources in White Nile state reported a rapid spread of cholera. The disease then spread to North Kordofan, and fully hit Khartoum in May, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan said in June.

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UN peacekeeping head to visit Sudan, South Sudan

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United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Photo: MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit Sudan, South Sudan and Abyei, the world body said in a statement on Monday.

Lacroix will visit the UN peacekeeping operations in Darfur (UNAMID), in Abyei (UNISFA) and in South Sudan (UNMISS).

While in Sudan, the senior UN official is expected to meet government officials, UNAMID personnel and the country team representatives to discuss the reconfiguration of the UN mission in Darfur.

“In addition to El Fasher, Lacroix is expected to visit Golo, Central Darfur, where UNAMID will be establishing a new team site,” said the UN.

After Sudan, Lacroix proceeds to Abyei to meet UN personnel and community representatives to discuss the status of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission and the situation in Abyei.

“He will then head to Juba, South Sudan, where he will advocate for a country-wide cessation of hostilities, the importance of an inclusive political solution towards ending the current conflict and greater cooperation with the UN Mission and humanitarian actors”, stressed the UN statement.

Lacroix is also expected to visit Malakal and Bentiu, where UNMISS is protecting over 145,000 civilians.

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Sudan Call forces to mediate between SPLM-N factions

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July 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition Sudan Call alliance Sunday announced the formation of a committee to broker a mediation between the two factions of the Sudan Liberation People’s Liberation-North (SPLM-N) and expressed willingness to coordinate with other opposition groups.

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Deputy chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP), Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (R), with leading figure at the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) Siddig Youssef at a press conference in Khartoum on 19 April 2015 (ST)

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one in the Nuba Mountains led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other in the White Nile State led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other issues.

In a meeting held on Saturday in Omdurman, the opposition parties members of Sudan Call forces, which are allied to the SPLM-N and two armed groups from Darfur, discussed the recent political developments in the country and ways to reinvigorate the activities of the alliance.

Following the meeting, the opposition parties held a press conference and released a statement where they reiterated their keenness to reconcile the two factions and announced they would mediate between them.

The Sudan Call leaders “tasked a tripartite committee with reaching out to Malik Agar and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu to consult with them on the issue,” said the statement.

Also, the opposition leaders told reporters during the press conference that al-Hilu responded positively to their initiative and vowed to discuss the matter with them once he completes the reorganisation of his group.

Al-Hilu managed to get the support of the SPLA-N in the Nuba Mountains and says he has the support of the SPLM-N members Blue Nile State. Agar disputes this claim. He calls for a collective resignation of the three-member leadership paving the way for a general conference to discuss the causes of the refit, reorganise the movement and elect a new leadership.

The Sudan Call forces announced their support for the American proposal for the medical humanitarian assistance. Further, they called on the SPLM-N to accept it and to discuss its implementation as soon as possible.

Regarding the peace talks in the two areas, they emphasised that peace requires an inclusive national political process to address the root causes of the conflict.

In the past, the political opposition groups blamed the government and the SPLM for negotiating the 2005 peace agreement that led to the independence of South Sudan without them.

Further, the opposition alliance renewed its determination to continue mobilisation to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and a democratic transition that establishes a state of citizenship and justice.

The Sudan Call said they would work with all the initiatives for a national action against the regime, including those coming from the trade unions, women and youth organisations, and reiterated its keenness to coordinate with them through networking or alliances.

“We extend our hands without preconditions to the National Consensus Forces to coordinate with them on common mobilisation issues and to reach to an optimal platform for a joint action,” further said the Sudan Call.

The Sudan Call forces were part of the National Consensus Forces but diverged on whether or not to negotiate an agreement with the regime on peace and democratic reforms. While the political and military alliance accepted an African Union mediation, the left forces rejected the process.

The opposition alliance also reiterated its rejection of calls by President Omer al-Bashir to participate in the drafting of a new constitution on the basis of the recommendations of the government-led national dialogue process.

U.S. Sanctions

On the permanent lift of sanctions, the opposition said the delay for additional three- month period was expected because the new administration of President Donald Trump needs more time to assess the situation.

They further called to link the revocation of sanctions with the end of war and implementation of a peace agreement and democratic rule ensuring freedoms, justice and preventing corruption.

“Otherwise how an economy can grow under internal and border wars and disputes, how an economy can flourish or a national or foreign investor get the guarantee that his money would be protected against corruption and the intervention of security services in all aspects of economic operations?”

(ST)

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U.S. Treasury allows full resumption of financial transactions with Sudan: minister

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July 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Salih al-Rikabi said Khartoum has received a letter from the U.S. Department of Treasury stating the full resumption of financial transactions between Sudan and international banks as of last Thursday.

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U.S. Treasury Department building in Washington, DC. (AFP)

Last January, former U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order easing the 19-year Sudan sanctions on a probationary basis. The sanctions relief was to become permanent on 12 July unless the U.S. Administration acted to stop it.

President Donald Trump, in a new executive order issued Tuesday, moved that deadline back by three months, while keeping the temporary sanctions relief in place, citing the need to take more time to assess the robust process.

In an interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper Sunday, al-Rikabi described the U.S. Department of Treasury letter as “significant breakthrough” in Sudan’s relations with the international financial sector and international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, foreign investors, as well as all Sudanese expatriates whose annual remittances are estimated at $6 billion.

He stressed his ministry would continue to deal with the regional and international financial institutions to attract foreign investments and achieve economic stability.

Commenting on Washington’s decision to delay the permanent lifting of economic sanctions, al-Rikabi said “despite dissatisfaction with the decision but it has achieved significant gains regarding the international financial transactions”.

He added the new executive order didn’t provide for additional restriction on President Obama’s decision to ease the sanctions.

Last May, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) Badr al-Din Qurashi acknowledged that Khartoum didn’t benefit from Washington’s decision to ease the economic sanctions saying investors look forward to seeing a full lift of sanctions in July.

He pointed that the international banks, especially U.S. banks, refrained from making transactions with their Sudanese counterparts, saying foreign investors fear to enter into large investments in Sudan before the full lifting of sanctions.

Qurashi added the sanctions have prevented the Sudanese banking sector and Sudanese citizens from using international payment and settlement systems and bank transfers, saying the banks were also prevented from acquiring advanced U.S technology.

(ST)

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Putting Sudan on notice

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Extending the sanction review period is a good first step toward ending the crimes of a genocidal regime.

Sudanese Genocide War Criminal Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Sudanese Genocide War Criminal Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you were told that an indicted war criminal who is responsible for the death of thousands of Sudanese citizens should be allowed to gain the economic benefits of trading with the U.S., what would you say? On July 12 the Trump administration postponed a decision for 90 days on whether to continue to implement Executive Order 13761 regarding sanctions on Sudan that were established as the result of decades of violence, genocide and crimes against humanity.

My first visit to Sudan was in 1989. I have been there numerous times since and I was the first member of the House to go to Darfur during the genocide in 2004. What I saw there was one of the worst scenes I have ever witnessed. Shortly after I returned, Congress passed a resolution declaring that genocide was taking place in Darfur. President Bush declared it genocide as well, effectively becoming the first president to declare an ongoing conflict to be genocide.

Since 2011, the Sudanese government has continued to target Sudanese villages in the Nuba Mountains and other areas dropping thousands of bombs on them over the past six years, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians including women and children. Nuba Reports, a journalism initiative based in the Nuba Mountains has documented more than 4,000 bombs dropped on civilian areas since June 2011.

Then there is the latest report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which states, “Religious freedom conditions in Sudan continued to deteriorate in 2016. Government officials arrested and prosecuted Christian leaders and marginalized the Christian community.” The report goes on to state, “The government of Sudan, led by President Bashir, imposes a restrictive interpretation of Sharia and applies corresponding hudood punishments on Muslims and non- Muslims alike.”

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NW Arkansan aids Sudanese

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Despite risk, former UA professor helps feed Nuba refugees

sam-totten-a-genocide-expert-and-former-university-of-arkansas-professor-stands-inside-his-home-office-in-springdale-on-thursday-july-6-2017-totten-returned-last-month-from-a-trip-to-east-africa-to-bring-food-to-civilians-in-the-nuba-mountains-of-sudan-one-of-several-such-trips-hes-made-in-recent-years

Sam Totten, a genocide expert and former University of Arkansas professor, stands inside his home office in Springdale on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Totten returned last month from a trip to east Africa to bring food to civilians in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, one of several such trips he’s made in recent years.

SPRINGDALE — Even a medical emergency and a stay of more than two days in a dilapidated hospital hasn’t deterred Sam Totten from continuing his humanitarian trips to a war zone, thousands of miles from his Northwest Arkansas home.

“As long as I’m relatively healthy and have the ability to pull it off, it just seems selfish, in a way, not to do it,” Totten said. “Or heartless, or whatever you want to call it.”

Totten, 68, lives east of Springdale in a quiet, verdant neighborhood overlooking Beaver Lake. It’s a far cry from the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, a war-torn region to which he’s traveled several times over the past five years on missions to feed hungry civilians.

He spends thousands of his own dollars on each trip. He also spends his own money, as well as donations from others, on food for the Nuba people.

His most recent trip was last month. Totten arranged the delivery of more than 6 tons of rice, sorghum, beans, cooking oil and salt — all worth about $9,000 — to Nuba refugees in Uganda, which borders South Sudan. He also bought 650 reusable feminine pads for the refugees.

Totten said he wasn’t able to see the delivery through before he left because of the red tape involved. A doctor with whom Totten traveled, along with a “fixer” he hired, eventually got the job done, he said. A fixer is someone who has connections inside government and elsewhere and can pull strings to get certain jobs done, Totten said.

“We had to get permission from the prime minister’s office to introduce any items into any of the [refugee] camps, whether it’s food or whatever,” he said.

Totten had hoped to spend time in the camps interviewing refugees, but his plan was derailed by illness. He woke up one morning with gastrointestinal pain. The pain worsened as several hours passed.

“I was in agony,” he said.

He ended up in a hospital in northern Uganda, a setting he described as hot, buggy and lacking amenities — such as soap and toilet paper — that most Americans would expect in a hospital room. Bats entered the room at night, and no one changed his bedsheets during the 2½ days he was there, he said.

In addition, people at the hospital had to cook their own food.

“So every morning and late afternoon, you’d hear all this noise, and it was people outside starting fires and cooking their own food,” he said.

He was told repeatedly a medical-evacuation flight was being arranged to take him somewhere else, but the flight never materialized. He finally decided to return to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. He caught a flight from there to Kigali, Rwanda, before returning to the United States.

“It was a successful trip, but it was miserable and I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to,” Totten said. “But the main thing is, we got the food there.”

Kathleen Barta, Totten’s wife, was at a fundraiser with friends when she got the call about his illness. It was a scary time, she said.

“But I’m grateful for the friend he was traveling with,” she said. “They made some good decisions.”

It was the second time Totten experienced a medical problem while on one of his mission trips. In January 2016, he passed out and hit his head in a shower in a refugee camp in South Sudan, sending him to a makeshift hospital. He eventually was evacuated by airplane to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he stayed for five days.

Barta worries about her husband, but admires his willingness to do what he can.

“His life has been committed to human-rights issues,” Barta said. “I wouldn’t be the one to stop Sam from doing the work. I think at this stage of his career, it’s a powerful example for people to do something and not be a bystander.”

Totten said Barta is amazingly supportive of him, though he appreciates the anxiety his trips cause her.

“I don’t want to be cavalier and say, ‘Well, I’m going to keep going, no matter what,'” Totten said. “If it starts eating away at her, then that’s not fair.”

Totten, a scholar of genocide studies, taught at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, for 25 years. His home office is filled with books on genocide, some of which he has written or edited. He will teach a course on genocide at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., this fall.

Philip Tutu is a native of the Nuba Mountains living in Kansas City, Mo. Tutu, 53, has known Totten for six years. He complimented Totten on the work he does.

“We have a crisis in Sudan, and he has always cared about our people and always wanted to bring the story out to tell people about it,” Tutu said. “He is caring and has a good heart for people. He’s risking his life to go help others.”

Conflict in Sudan is nothing new, but the current crisis in the Nuba Mountains region is most directly traced to 2011, when the country of South Sudan was born. Two Sudanese provinces that wished to join the new nation were excluded, so a rebellion sprang up against President Omar al-Bashir’s government.

The Sudanese government has waged war against the rebels, but the government also has been criticized for targeting civilians in the region. The International Criminal Court has charged al-Bashir with crimes against humanity, including genocide, in connection with violence in Sudan’s Darfur region that began in 2003.

Totten estimates he’s spent well over $20,000 of his own money delivering food, paying for airfare and renting vehicles on his trips. He pays for it all with royalties from his books and the money he makes from talks he gives nationally on genocide. He makes $3,000 from each talk he gives, he said.

Others have been financially supportive of his work, however. A Northwest Arkansas educator donated $1,000. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, the Quakers of Fayetteville and various other genocide scholars have contributed as well, Totten said.

Metro on 07/13/2017

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Sudan may return to war if US keeps sanctions: minister

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Khartoum – Sudan could fall back into war if Washington fails to lift decades-old sanctions, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has said, insisting that Khartoum sees the embargo as “unacceptable”.

US President Donald Trump is due to decide Wednesday whether to permanently lift the sanctions, which his predecessor Barack Obama eased in January.

Obama made their removal dependent on Khartoum’s progress in five areas of concern during a six-month review period ending Wednesday.

Sudanese officials say Khartoum has fulfilled the Obama administration’s conditions.

“We don’t expect any other decision except lifting of the sanctions,” Ghandour told state radio late Monday.

“Anything else will be illogical and unacceptable.”

He said the Trump administration’s decision would have an impact on “war and peace” in Sudan, where fighting between the government and rebels has killed tens of thousands of people since 2003.

Negotiations 

“If the sanctions continue, it will push the armed groups to harden their positions,” Ghandour said.

“If the sanctions are lifted they will return to negotiations – if not, they will prepare for war.”

Obama’s conditions included improved access for aid groups, counterterrorism co-operation with the US, an end to hostilities against armed groups in Sudan and halting support for insurgents in neighbouring South Sudan.

Washington imposed a complex set of economic sanctions on Sudan in 1997 for its alleged backing of Islamist militant groups.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US commando raid in Pakistan in 2011, was based in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996.

The US further justified the embargo with accusations that Khartoum was using scorched-earth tactics against ethnic minority rebels in war-torn Darfur – a region of the size of France.

Unilateral ceasefire 

At least 300 000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since fighting erupted in the western region in 2003, the United Nations says.

The conflict broke out when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Khartoum’s Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising Darfur.

Thousands more have been killed in similar conflicts in the southern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011.

Although Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a unilateral ceasefire in conflict zones, Khartoum and rebel groups have yet to sign a peace deal.

United Nations aid agencies operating in Sudan have backed a full lifting of sanctions, saying they hope for a “positive” decision from Washington on Wednesday.

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