Sudan Extends Cease-fire by Six Months

A senior U.S official said on Thurday that the Obama administration plans to ease some financial sanctions against Sudan in recognition to what the American government says are small areas of improvement in fighting terrorism and other US goals.

He said the move intends to acknowledge Sudan's efforts to reduce internal conflicts, improve humanitarian access to people in need and curtail terrorism.

U.S. looks to remove agriculture sanctions against SudanThe Obama administration has made progress in their attempt to lift a 20-year trade embargo against Sudan in a move that has angered human rights organizations.

At that point, several USA agencies would have to affirm to the White House that Sudan is continuing taking positive steps before the sanctions would be eased.

The outgoing president noted "a marked reduction in offensive military activity, culminating in a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan".

The US government believes those ties have ebbed, but sanctions have remained amid the government's scorched earth tactics against ethnic minority rebels in Darfur.

Obama's announcement prompted outrage from rights groups.

The government decision appears to be part of a roadmap agreement between Khartoum and Washington that prompted the latter to ease the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.

The AP cited three officials who attributed the policy change to the Sudanese government's stronger stance on fighting terrorism and keeping the country from becoming a sanctuary for rebels from South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and has been locked in a bloody civil war for more than three years.

Besides underscoring that the decision ignored the issue of peace and democratic reforms, they point that a review will be held by the American administration within six months and it may reinstate the sanctions on the Sudan.

The letter also recognised "steps toward the improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, as well as cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism".

  • Jon Douglas