U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan softens tone on easing sanctions ahead of policy review

(NSV) – Scott Gration, President Barack Obama’s Sudan envoy has said in a briefing with U.S journalists this morning that the international trade sanctions imposed on Sudan should not be lifted.

In July, Gration hinted that Washington must “unwind” some of the sanctions on Sudan, adding that there was no ground Khartoum should remain in a list of nations that sponsor terrorism. 


U.S. Sudan Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration speaks to reporters in Khartoum in undated photo.

“There is no evidence in our intelligence community that supports [Sudan] being on the state sponsors of terrorism list,” Gration said. “It’s a political decision.”

The U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan now favours “creating exceptions” since “the sanctions that we have in place are actually hindering our ability to do the humanitarian and development missions, and in some ways even the security mission.” He didn’t not say what those “exceptions” are, as he is expected to table a comprehensive review of American foreign policy toward Sudan soon. 

Gration said in the Q&A session that the U.S. has no choice but to deal with Khartoum, despite the arrest warrant the ICC issued against President Bashir for war crimes in Darfur. 

“Obviously, we’d like to be able to fix Darfur and the south and the Chad conflict and the proxy war … and bring regional stability without ever having to go to Khartoum,” Gration said.

“We’re the only country right now that has relations, good relations, with the governments of southern Sudan and Khartoum.” However, Gration said “I’ve not met with Bashir” and “Nor do I have any plans to meet with him — but I’m not ruling it out.”

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