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Sudan to boost ties with US despite travel ban

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir PHOTO: AFP

Sudan on Saturday vowed to enhance its bilateral relations with Washington despite US President Donald Trump banning the African country’s citizens from entering the United States.

Citizens of Sudan, along with those from six other Muslim-majority countries, have been banned from entering the United States, although a US federal judge on Friday ordered a temporary nationwide halt to Trump’s ban.

The ban on Sudanese travellers came just weeks after former US president Barack Obama lifted a 20-year-old US trade embargo imposed on Sudan.

Despite the travel ban, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour vowed that Khartoum will work towards enhancing bilateral ties with Washington.

“Sudan and the United States have many common goals, including fighting terrorism jointly in the region and internationally,” Ghandour said in a message to new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a foreign ministry statement said.

“Such joint efforts led to the removal of US sanctions on Sudan,” Ghandour said without specifically reacting to Trump’s ban, but insisting that Khartoum was “committed to enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries”.

Last week Trump barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan from entering the United States for 90 days.

Refugees from countries other than Syria are barred from entry for 120 days.

On Friday, Seattle US District Judge James Robart ordered a temporary nationwide halt to Trump’s ban on travellers from these countries.

On January 13, Obama announced the lifting of some economic sanctions imposed on Sudan two decades ago, in an attempt to improve ties with Khartoum.

Sudan has been subject to a US trade embargo since 1997 for its alleged support for Islamist groups. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996.

The United States has also blacklisted Sudan as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.



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