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Decision of Sudan’s Bashir to release prisoners ‘nice’: U.S. envoy

Published: Updated:

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice described Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s decision to release political prisoners “nice” during a press conference on Wednesday.

“That would be nice. We note the announcement by President Bashir that he intends to release all political prisoners and hold a national dialogue, there were at least a handful released yesterday,” Rice said in a press conference Wednesday.

“That would be an important step to the kind of inclusive political process that is overdue in Khartoum,” she added.

The release of the prisoners “would strengthen” the African state and would be a start “to address many of the concerns that have been at the root of longstanding conflicts in various parts of Sudan,” Rice also said.

Her statements follow a recently released report by U.S. based advocacy group that Sudan’s government has committed war crimes since mid-2011 in two of its southern states near the border with South Sudan.

Bashir announced on Monday he will release all political prisoners, a move welcomed by the opposition as tensions ease with South Sudan.

“Today, we announce a decision to free all the political prisoners and renew our commitment to all political powers about dialogue,” Bashir said in a speech opening a new session of parliament.

“We confirm we will continue our communication with all political and social powers without excluding anyone, including those who are armed, for a national dialogue which will bring a solution to all the issues," the president said.