22 June 2012

Sudan: Country's Economic Problems Tied to Bashir Indictment, U.S Envoy Says

Khartoum — The United State (US) special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, has opined that the indictment of President Omer Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) is contributing to Khartoum's economic problems.

Sudan's economy has been struggling with soaring inflation and a depreciating currency since the country lost three quarters of its oil production which was taken by neighboring South Sudan when it seceded in July last year.

The London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Friday that Lyman, speaking at the annual conference of the US-Sudanese studies association held in the University of Arizona, said that Sudan had been under US economic sanctions for almost twenty years but Khartoum nevertheless did not change its internal policies and refused to take steps to be integrated into the global economy.

Lyman drew a link between Sudan's economic problems and the arrest warrants issued by the ICC for President Al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly masterminded in the country's western region of Darfur.

"It [the arrest warrant] hinders the possibility of full cooperation with Western countries and therefore makes Western countries less motivated to provide assistance to Sudan" he said as quoted by Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Turning to the issue of relations between Sudan and South Sudan, the US diplomat expressed lack of optimism about the future of bilateral relations.

Lyman said that there is a crisis of mistrust between leaders of the two countries, which in his opinion obstructs any efforts to resolve political and economic issues.

The US official suggested that the problems that the two sides are deeply suspicious of each other and each side is thinking of how to destabilize the other if not destroy it.

Sudan and South Sudan today resumed second round of negotiations over post-secession issues under AU mediation in Addis Ababa following a two month hiatus in which the two sides fought a brief war around the oil-producing region of Heglig.

The first round held earlier this month ended without an agreement on security due to disagreements over maps and disputed border regions.

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