South Sudan referendum to determine Khartoum-Washington relations

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The US has promised northern Sudan that as long as it did not “directly or indirectly” support terror groups, it would remove the soon-to-be split nation from its list of state sponsors of terrorism as early as July. The US also seeks higher level of diplomatic representation in Khartoum.

According to reports, the de-stigmatization of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism would also depend on whether or not Khartoum recognizes the results of the referendum on independence for the south.

Speaking to reporters, Princeton Lyman, the lead US negotiator with Sudan, said taking Sudan off US terrorism sponsors list is a process that takes some time, but by beginning the process in the wake of the referendum, the hope is if they meet all the conditions it can be done by July.

“Should the referendum be carried out successfully and the results are recognized by the government, President Obama would indicate his intention to begin the process of removing them,” Princeton Lyman was quoted by AFP as saying.
The United States has banned virtually all trade with Sudan since 1997, but following the implementation of the 2005 Peace Accord in Sudan, which includes the vote for southern Sudan independence, the US has promised to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Since 1997, Sudan could not receive US aid or buy US weapons, and bilateral trade is restricted.

Despite Khartoum’s efforts in the implementation of the 2005 peace accord, the US believes Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should answer charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, which have been leveled against him by the United Nations’ International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We look to have a normalized relationship with a government in Sudan, notwithstanding the need for President Bashir to answer the charges leveled against him by the international community and the ICC,” said Carson.

The United States also seeks better relations with Sudan. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, told reporters that the US seeks a better relationship with the government of Sudan, and higher level of diplomatic representation in Khartoum.
Currently, Washington is represented in Khartoum by a charge d’affaires and a deputy chief of mission.

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