New York — Egypt and Qatar have added thier voices to a growing international chorus to remove Sudan from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. In his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday, the Egyptian President, Abdelfattah Al Sisi said that Sudan should be removed from the terror blacklist "in recognition of the positive transformation that Sudan is witnessing and to enable it confront the economic challenges through interaction with economic and international institutions to meet the hopes of his people, and to take the place that it deserves within the international community."
Al Sisi's appeal to the UN endorses a statement by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Khartoum two weeks ago, that in the view of Egypt, "Sudan remaining on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism is inconsistent with reality, especially after the change in Sudan".
Turning to the African continent as a whole, Sisi said that "African countries are convinced of the importance of developing genuine and effective partnerships to address the political and economic challenges they face, access to knowledge and technology, achieve development of the African human resources and provide funding and political support which are fundamental to the implementation of the African Development Agenda for 2063".
The theme of the UN debate is "Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion." Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdouk is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Friday.
As reported by Radio Dabanga this week, Sudan's Minister of Finance Ibrahim El Badawi announced that it is not possible that the economic sanctions against Sudan will be lifted within a year.
At the opening of the current session, UN Secretary-General António Guterres encouraged the international community to support Sudan, and added his voice to calls to remove Sudan from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.
"Sudan is a matter of great hope for us. I believe that what was possible in the dialogue in Sudan demonstrates that all political conflicts can be solved by dialogue when there is political will for that, and this should be a lesson for everywhere else in the world, Guterres said at a press conference on Wednesday at the start of the 74th session of the General Assembly in New York.
"It is time now for the international community to support Sudan. Sudan is in a very dire economic situation, in a very dramatic economic situation.
"I hope that all the restrictions that exist about Sudan, namely, the classification as a country that support terrorism and sanctions, will be quickly removed," Guterres said.
Economists have called on Sudan's coming transitional government to make efforts to remove Sudan's name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, so that Sudan can take advantage of the initiative to relieve Sudan's debt.
Sudan's debt has exceeded $58 billion, according to the economists. The initiative to ease it aims to reform the health, education, and transportation sectors, dissolution of levy institutions, encouraging production in the next phase, development of an emergency plan that takes care of the daily needs of citizens and removing injustice from them.
There have been strong initiatives since the overthrow of the 30-year Al Bashir dictatorship to have Sudan's name removed from the US blacklist. In his speech on the occasion of presenting his Cabinet earlier this month, Hamdouk said: "A democratic Sudan is not a threat to anybody in the world. Of course, we understand this is a process. We are happy to talk to our friends and partners in the US government. We hope the Sudanese people will be rewarded by being dropped from the terrorism list. It is key to anything we can do to unlock this country, even to American investment."
During his visit to Khartoum last month, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale affirmed that while "America is fully committed to helping Sudan transition to a civilian-led government that reflects the will of the people," he cautioned that his country still needs to settle some issues with Sudan before considering removing it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism: "There are a number of things that we look forward to engaging with a civilian-led government in Sudan," he said, adding that these included human rights, religious freedom, and counter-terrorism efforts, as well as "promoting internal peace, political stability and economic recovery in Sudan"
The United States will first test the commitment of Sudan's new transitional government to human rights, freedom of speech, and humanitarian access before it agrees to remove the country from the US state sponsor of terrorism list, a senior State Department official confirmed in August.
The State Department official, speaking to reporters on background, said while Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk would be the main point of contact, US diplomats would also have to interact with General Mohamed Hamdan, commonly known as Hemeti, the outgoing deputy chief of the military council who heads the widely feared Rabid Support Forces (RSF) militia.
"Prime Minister Hamdouk has said all the right things so we look forward to engaging with him... This new government has shown a commitment so far. We are going to keep testing that commitment," the official added.
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