Sudanese American counter-terror, intelligence cooperation pays off with travel ban lift
The lifting of Sudan’s travel ban by the United States’ Trump administration was the result of deep intelligence and counter terrorism cooperation, according to a Sudanese diplomat.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump removed Sudan from a list of six countries restricted from entering America. According to a brief statement issued by the White House, the decision is applicable from Oct. 18.
“Sudan has made great progress in the five points agreed by the two countries on the normalization of relations and lifting economic sanctions,” said Abdul Rahman Abukhres, director of Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Diplomatic Institute.
Abu Khres said that Sudan has agreed to cooperate with the US to a “maximum level” on intelligence and counter-terrorism.
“This cooperation was crowned by the absence of any mention of Sudan on the latest intelligence report issued by the US government on state sponsors of terrorism,” Abu Khres told Al Arabiya English.
Abu Khres added that the US moved Sudan forward a few levels on the annual human rights report issued by the State Department in June.
Sudan’s Intelligence Chief Mohammed al-Atta Fadl al-Mula travelled to the US for talks with his American counterparts in March, in a further display of improved intelligence sharing capacity.
According to senior Sudanese intelligence official, General Hanafi Abdallah, the CIA office in Khartoum is their largest office in the Middle East.
“There is communication between the two bodies and regular meetings. The CIA office in Khartoum is the largest office in the Middle East. Because the US is aware of Sudan’s strategic importance in the region, it has established one of the largest diplomatic missions in the region, even they had to expand their buildings,” said Hanafi in an interview with the Khartoum based Al-Sudani newspaper.
Abu Khres said that the agreement also included support for peace in South Sudan.
“Sudan rejected any participation with the South Sudanese opposition from within Sudan against the sitting government,” he said. “Sudan is committed to stopping the war to bring peace to South Sudan,” he added.
Sudan is also working with the US to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict in South Kordofan state and the Blue Nile state.
The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an emailed statement to Al Arabiya English that the decision represents an important and positive development in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“This is a natural outcome of a long and frank dialogue and joint efforts by a number of different institutions on both sides of the table and also due to the close cooperation between the two countries on international and regional issues,” the statement read.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms the determination of the Sudanese government to exert more efforts with the US administration to remove any obstacles to the full normalization of relations between the two countries and to achieve the common interests of the peoples of the two countries,” the ministry added.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, who is currently in the US, has held meetings with members of the US administration to discuss relations between the two countries and ways of normalizing them.
Currently, Sudanese citizens will have to wait until October 18 before they are able to apply for US Visas.
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