(Exclusive SMC-SV) The Trump administration has decided to permanently lift some of the economic sanctions on Sudan, handing a victory to the country and its lobbyists.
The decision, which was widely expected, followed “a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Friday night.
“The United States will continue efforts to improve bilateral relations with Sudan,” she said. “Any further normalization of ties will require continued progress by the Government of Sudan.”
The Obama administration began easing some of the restrictions on Sudan earlier this year. Officials said the country was cooperating more fully with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, allowing in humanitarian groups and promising not to engage in arms sales with North Korea, Reuters reported.
The easing of sanctions is not the only victory for Sudan in recent weeks.
Sudan had previously been on President Trump’s list of countries whose citizens were banned from flying to the United States. When the White House unveiled a revised ban last month, Sudan was no longer on the list — the only country to be removed.
“Sudan has significant oil and gas resources that will present interesting business opportunities to U.S. energy companies,” said Michael Casey, a partner at Kirkland, in an emailed statement.
“The lifting of sanctions on Sudan will create new opportunities for U.S. companies,” he said.
Rather than imposing more sanctions, or keeping existing ones in place, Princeton Lyman, a former U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, said the U.S. should increase its diplomatic efforts.
“It doesn’t work to say, ‘When you’ve completely changed, we’ll lift the sanctions.’ It’s not the way change comes about,” Lyman, who participated in an Atlantic Council report on the issue, told The Hill in July.