SUDAN WATCH: Sudan disappointed over Gration’s stance “reversal” (ST)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sudan disappointed over Gration’s stance “reversal” (ST)

From Sudan Tribune, Sunday 9 August 2009 07:46:
Sudan disappointed over Gration’s stance “reversal”
August 8, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government expressed disappointment over the statements made by US special envoy Scott Gration this week saying it is a “reversal” from his original position he expressed before the Congress.

Gration told Reuters in an interview that remarks he made to US lawmakers last week — that Washington could “unwind” some sanctions against Sudan — had been misunderstood and that he was only suggesting limited changes to sanctions that would contribute to the development of South Sudan.

The US official also said that he backs the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

A Sudanese presidential official speaking to the London based Al-Hayat newspaper on condition of animosity said he was surprised by Gration’s “change of heart”.

The official accused Gration of seeking to “pacify hawks” within the Obama administration who want a “tough” approach with Khartoum.

Earlier today the head of the US bureau at the Sudanese foreign ministry Nasr Al-Deen Wali urged Washington to take a “brave” decision and remove his country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The Sudanese diplomat said the designation is “baseless” saying that Khartoum has persistently pushed for the removal. He also said that the government is not concerned with the policy review underway in Washington but simply wants the sanctions lifted.

In his testimony before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Gration said that there was “no evidence” to support that designation saying that Khartoum helped US efforts against key member of Al-Qaeda extremist group and that it was a political decision.

Today the Foreign Relations Affairs officer at the US Embassy in Khartoum, Judith Ravin, told UN sponsored Miraya FM that Gration backs economic sanctions on Sudan.

It is not clear if the US is backing away from what appeared to be imminent plans to lift sanctions as some Sudanese officials have said in press statements that it is a “matter of time”.

Washington has also been grappling with how to deal with Khartoum over violence in Darfur, where UN estimates say up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes amid violence the United States has labeled genocide. (ST)
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