14 January 2017

Sudan: Press Applauds Easing of U.S Sanctions

Khartoum — The Khartoum press was Saturday awash with news and commentaries about the resolution Friday by U.S President Barack Obama that eased tight economic sanctions on Sudan.

The sanctions were imposed by the U.S in 1997 over alleged human rights abuses and support to international terrorism. Khartoum had always denied such charges saying the U.S was, in fact, unhappy about the independent foreign policy course the country had gone through since the advent of the National Salvation Government in 1989.

Headlines like "Sudan welcomes the lifting of sanctions " and "Foreign Minister Ghandour: " the resolution is an initial step", had loomed large in all publications.

Also the headline:"Central Bank Governor: The decision will reduce dollar rates and permit banking transfers" , " King Salman of Saudi Arabia congratulates Bashir on the Obama resolution, " CIA chief contacts Security Chief Mohamed Ata" and "The Foreign Ministry welcomes the U.S decision " had colored up the day's publications.

Mr. Obama Friday said in a letter to members of Congress he has determined that the situation that led the U.S. to impose sanctions had changed over the last six months in light of Sudan's positive actions.

"These actions include a marked reduction in offensive military activity, culminating in a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan, and steps toward the improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, as well as cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism," Obama said.

According to the Obama resolution the Sudan government can commercially transact with the U.S. and its financial transactions with other countries will be facilitated.The decision also unfreezes property and other assets that had been locked up in U.S. banks.

Nearly all publications Saturday hailed the U.S decision, with commentators expressing joy over its consequences or urging the government to exploit it for further economic and political reform.

Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic daily newspaper Arrai al-Aam (public opinion) Mohammad Abdulgadir considered the Obama decision " a heralding of a series of positive developments in the Sudan-U.S relations in the near future."

"This development did not occur all of a sudden. It was the fruit of a dialogue that spanned over two years in which the Sudanese government presented all the defenses needed to clear itself from the unfair accusations that brought a lot of hardship upon the Sudanese people, sanctions that affected all the details of the everyday life of Sudanese," wrote Mr. Abdulgair in his daily column.

Wrote Editor-in-Chief of the daily newspaper al-Sudani (The Sudanese), Mr. Dia Eddin Bilal in his column entitled 'al-Ain al-Thaltha (the third eye: " Friday morning and at the threshold of his leaving office , President Obama announced a partial lifting of sanctions on Sudan along a roadmap specifying what Sudan should do and what the US could offer."

"The Obama decision has addressed the package of trade and economic sanctions (save sanctions imposed on specific individuals)," said Bilal.

"It is clear that the US is, at this stage, keen about eliminating the hot beds of conflict in Sudan and about slamming the door in the face of any endeavor to create a state of turmoil that could lead to chaos and a possible breakdown of the state of Sudan that can have an immense adverse effect on the situation in the Arab and African regions," Mr. Bilal further wrote.

"Now there are schemes to fight terrorism and the flow of illegal immigrants to the Western countries that have precedence over any other issues for the Western countries , foremost the U.S.A," said Editor Bilal.

"Obama's resolution easing the executive sanctions will have a tremendous bearing on the politics and economy of Sudan," he maintained.

In an analysis, the paper (al-Sudani) predicted that the Obama resolution could speed up the peace process in Sudan, as the rapprochement between Khartoum and Washington could narrow the opportunities of maneuver for the armed opposition, the SPLM/N in particular.

"Now the question: How can the government invest in these positive developments and turn them into a political capital at the levels of peace and national concord, instead of the previous positions?," asked the paper.

The paper is of the view that the Obama resolution had "removed 50% of the country's isolation and external animosities and this can give the government more confidence when tackling its domestic and external problems. The decision can also perpetuate the government's existing regional and international alliances, it said.

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