US willing to lift Sudan’s ‘terror state’ designation pending reforms

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The United States said Wednesday it was willing to remove Sudan from its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism if the country undertakes further reforms.

In a statement released after talks in Washington, the State Department called on Sudan to step up anti-terrorism cooperation and improve its human rights record.

The statement cited “systematic discrimination and oppression” of non-Arabs in Darfur, and how the government used brutal force against them when they rebelled in 2003, killing over 300,000 people.

“US policy in Sudan is focused on ensuring that Sudan does not provide support to or a safe haven for international terrorists; achieving a definitive end to gross human rights abuses; concluding a comprehensive peace process that includes both Darfur and the Two Areas ; and encouraging an open and inclusive political dialogue,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Sudan's foreign ministry said on Thursday that Khartoum and Washington have agreed to launch the second phase of strategic talks aimed at removing Sudan from the United States' state sponsors of terrorism list.

The US designated Sudan a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1993 and suspended US embassy operations in 1996. It was reopened in 2002.

- With agencies

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