Hopes are running high in Sudan that US President Donald Trump will decide this week to lift Washington’s sanctions on Khartoum, despite rights groups calling for the decades-old embargo to be maintained.
“The time is right for permanently lifting the sanctions on Sudan,” senior Sudanese foreign ministry official Abdelghani Elnaim said ahead of the end of a review period on Wednesday.
“We are counting on President Trump to take this courageous decision that will make not just the people of Sudan, but all of Africa, happy.” Washington imposed a complex set of economic sanctions on Sudan in 1997 for its alleged backing of Islamist militant groups.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US commando raid in Pakistan in 2011, was based in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996. Washington also justified the embargo with accusations of scorched-earth tactics by Khartoum against ethnic minority rebels in war-torn Darfur.
Barack Obama eased the sanctions before leaving office in an attempt to improve ties with Sudan whose leader President Omar al-Bashir (pictured). -AFP