U.S. Is Open to Removing Sudan From Terrorism List, Diplomat Says

U.S. Is Open to Removing Sudan From Terrorism List, Diplomat Says

Mr. Sullivan said the travel-ban decision was unrelated to the latest moves. “That is an immigration issue,” he told reporters in Khartoum.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department in 1993, after officials determined that the country had harbored militants plotting to bomb the United Nations building, the New York headquarters of the F.B.I. and tunnels connecting New Jersey with Manhattan. Tough sanctions were imposed on Sudan in 1997 for harboring Osama bin Laden, then the leader of Al Qaeda, and other terrorists.

Revoking that designation has been a key concern of the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir.

The recent moves left in place sanctions against individuals suspected of involvement in crimes in the southeastern province of Darfur. Mr. Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, which accuses him of involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

Mr. Sullivan characterized the Trump administration’s policies as a continuation of President Barack Obama’s strategy of engagement with Sudan. He praised the Sudanese government’s “positive steps” over the past 18 months, including counterterrorism cooperation, expanded humanitarian access and what he called the “end” of Sudan’s “destabilizing actions in South Sudan.”

Based on the government’s track record, Mr. Sullivan said, the United States will continue to work with Sudan toward its eventual removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Mr. Sullivan said the United States would nevertheless continue to press Sudan on human rights issues.

“There will need to be substantial progress on those matters, including political freedom, press freedom and religious freedom — those freedoms that are so important to us as Americans,” he said.

Mr. Bashir’s policy in Darfur may also remain an icy point between the countries, even as relations otherwise thaw. Earlier this week, Mr. Bashir said that he wanted to close all of the displacement camps in Darfur, which he said had “recovered.”

“The United States does not support any unilateral efforts” to close the camps, Mr. Sullivan said. “We’ve had a number of discussions with the government of Sudan on these issues, and we are looking for a way forward that will provide for peaceful reconciliation. But we are not in favor of closing the camps.”

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