12 December 2012

Sudan Says That It Is in U.S. Best Interest to Forge Good Relations

Khartoum — The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan blasted the U.S. administration saying it is relying on tactics rather than its strategic interests in its handling of Sudan and is interfering in its affairs under the pretext of improving bilateral ties.

The head of the NCP external relations sector Ibrahim Ghandour said that his country is keen on establishing normal relations with the U.S. based on mutual respect and non-interference in its internal affairs.

Ghandour stressed that Sudan accepted U.S. role as a mediator due to its influence and clout in the world but is not desperate to normalize ties under Washington's terms.

The NCP official was responding to statements this week by outgoing U.S. special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman in which he stressed that Washington would not normalize ties with Khartoum without resolutions to conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Lyman proposed a roadmap to normalize bilateral ties including allowing humanitarian access to the Nuba Mountains, settlement of the conflict in the three areas and to resolve the outstanding issues with South Sudan.

But Ghandour said that Sudan is more keen than the U.S. on finding solutions to these problems adding that it is in Washington's best interest to forge good ties with it.

"We hope that the U.S. realizes that Sudan led by the federal Government will continue through its geographical position with political and economic abilities and its influence in the region, a state which is very important to be for the U.S. administration to have a relations with" he said.

In October 1997, the US imposed comprehensive economic, trade and financial sanctions against Sudan in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.

Washington promised Khartoum last year that should South Sudan referendum go peacefully it would quickly remove the East African nation from the list of states that sponsor terrorism as early as July 2011.

The US has yet to de-list Sudan from the terrorism designation, a decision which appears to be in light of the new conflicts that have erupted last year in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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