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SUDAN - June 29 - US Considers Lifting Sanctions.

Diplomats report that at the request of the US, the UN Security Council has delayed a decision on lifting sanctions against Sudan until mid-November, after the US presidential elections. All other council members believe Sudan has fulfilled the requirements to end the embargoes, imposed after Khartoum was accused of harbouring suspects in a 1995 attempted assassination of Egyptian Pres. Mubarak while he was attending a meeting in Addis Ababa. But the diplomats say a vote at this stage would draw a US veto in the 15-member body, prompting council members to agree to the postponement in the expectation the Clinton administration would change its position. (Sudan has lined up international backing for lifting the sanctions, including Egypt and Ethiopia.) France's ambassador Jean-David Levitte, June's council president, says that Sudan, during talks with the US diplomats at the UN, had agreed to the delay. He says: "This agreement was registered and endorsed by the members of the Security Council without further discussion". (The sanctions, which went into force in May 1996, require states to reduce the number of Sudanese diplomatic personnel on their territory and to restrict the entry of Sudanese government officials. The council then decided in Aug. 1996 to impose bans on flights by Sudanese aircraft. But those measures did not go into effect because the council did not adopt a follow-up resolution setting a date for their entry into force. However, for Sudan, the sanctions might prevent their vying for one of 10 rotating non-permanent Security Council seats in 2001, a move diplomats say the US is working hard to prevent. In the interim, the US has sent security experts to Khartoum to talk about US allegations that the government supports what Washington calls terrorist groups. The team, the 1st of its kind to visit the country, has been in Khartoum since at least June 22.) A State Department official says: "We took this initiative in response to offers from the government of Sudan to address terrorism concerns in a bilateral dialogue". Washington has its own sanctions and says it will not lift them until it is satisfied that Khartoum has changed its policy toward the militant groups. In Aug. 1998, the US bombed a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum on the grounds that it was preparing to produce chemical weapon ingredients. In letters to the Security Council earlier June, Sudan listed steps it had taken since the council called on it to desist from engaging in terrorist activities and to improve its relations with its neighbours. (Sudan has been engaged in a civil war pitting the central government against Christians and animists in the south who have refused to accept Islamic law, and Khartoum's leadership in general.) Council envoys hope the delay in lifting the sanctions will encourage the peace process.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jun 30, 2000
Words:463
Previous Article:SUDAN - June 28 - Rebel Fighters Return To Khartoum.
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