Sudan: U.S. and Sudan to Exchange Ambassadors

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks at the Atlantic Council on December 5, 2019.

Washington — The United States and Sudan have decided to initiate the process of exchanging ambassadors after a 23-year gap. The State Department confirmed this today during Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok's first visit to Washington.

Hamdok spoke, among other persons, with the State Department's Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale.

The US decided to exchange ambassadors "because the civilian-led transitional Sudanese government works to implement the vast reforms under the political agreement and constitutional declaration of August 17". The US Senate has to confirm any ambassador.

Positive

The State Department was remarkably positive about PM Hamdok. In a statement it said: "Since his August 21 appointment, Prime Minister Hamdok has led Sudan's transitional government, installed a civilian cabinet, and made key personnel changes to break with the policies and practices of the previous regime. He has demonstrated a commitment to peace negotiations with armed opposition groups, established a commission of inquiry to investigate violence against protestors, and committed to holding democratic elections at the end of the 39-month transition period."

U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism

The official Sudanese News Agency SUNA reported earlier today that Hamdok also met with Counterterrorism Coordinator Ambassador Nathan Sales at the State Department. According to SUNA ambassador Sales not only explained the procedural steps that have to be taken to get Sudan off that list, but he reportedly also indicated the US administration's commitment to making that happen. The US State Department press release does not mention anything about the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Visit to Sudan

In June 2019 US Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy backed the demands of the opposition in Sudan. US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale paid a visit to Sudan at the beginning of August, just before the transitional government was formed. In the beginning of October Nagy said that he really wants Sudan to succeed, but that removing it from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism will take time. "That is a process, not an event." Three weeks ago US Special Envoy to Sudan Donald Booth visited Khartoum, but he didn't make any concessions with regard to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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