Sudan: Khartoum 'Regrets' Place On U.S. Terrorism List
Khartoum — The Sudanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Sunday expressed its “strongest regret” that Sudan still appears on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” in the annual US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, a designation it has held since 1993.
In a statement via the official Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) on Sunday, the Ministry says that “the government of the Sudan is well aware of its commitment towards combating fundamentalism in all its forms and shapes regionally and internationally”.
In the annual report released by the US State Department last week, Sudan, Iran, and Syria are listed as “State Sponsors of Terrorism”.
The report explains that to designate a country as such, the Secretary of State must determine that the government of such country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. Once a country is designated, it remains a State Sponsor of Terrorism until the designation is rescinded in accordance with statutory criteria. A wide range of sanctions are imposed as a result of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including a ban on arms-related exports and sales.
In Sunday’s statement, the Ministry said Sudan will continue with its effort and cooperation with the international community in this regard.
“The Ministry expresses its strongest regret over keeping the name of Sudan within the so-called list of countries that sponsor international terrorism, as reflected in the annual report of the US State Department on the status of terrorism in the world for the year 2015. The list is subject to politicisation despite Sudan’s tremendous cooperation with the international community, including the United States of America, in the field of combating terrorism in all its forms and shapes.”
The statement said that “retaining the name of the Sudan in the list comes at a time when Sudan continues its constructive efforts to help achieving stability, peace and security in neighbouring countries and the region, through its active role in peace building and in combating terrorism in all its forms and fighting organised crime and cross-border crime and human trafficking.”
It also points out that “Sudan hosts a huge number of refugees from neighbouring countries, a matter that is recognised by many European countries”.
The statement stressed that “the Ministry for Foreign Affairs would like to reaffirm that the government of Sudan is fully aware of need to combat international terrorism, of its commitment towards combating terrorism in all its forms, regionally and internationally, and that the efforts and cooperation of the government of Sudan with the international community would continue in this respect”.
Excerpt from the report:
Sudan was designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1993 due to concerns about support to international terrorist groups to include the Abu Nidal Organization, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizballah.
In the mid-1990s, Sudan served as a meeting place, safe haven, and training hub for international terrorist groups, such as al-Qa’ida. Usama bin Laden was provided safe haven in Sudan for five years until he was expelled by the Sudanese government in 1996. Sudan’s support to al-Qa’ida has ceased but elements of al-Qa’ida and ISIL-linked terrorist groups remained active in Sudan in 2015. The United States and Sudan worked cooperatively in countering the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and ISIL in 2015, which included their use of transit and facilitation routes within the country.
In 2014, members of Hamas were allowed to raise funds, travel, and live in Sudan. However, in 2015 the use of Sudan by Palestinian designated terrorist groups appeared to have declined. The last known shipment was the Israeli-interdicted KLOS-C in 2014.
In June 2010, four Sudanese men sentenced to death for the killing of two U.S. Embassy staff members on January 1, 2008, escaped from Khartoum’s maximum security Kober prison. That same month of the escape, Sudanese authorities confirmed that they recaptured one of the four convicts, and a second escapee was reported killed in Somalia in May 2011. The recaptured murderer is being held in Kober Prison, and, as of December 2015, appeals of his pending death sentence were still ongoing. The whereabouts of the other two convicts were unknown at year’s end, although one is rumored to have been killed in Somalia in November 2015.