The Obama administration plans to loosen sanctions against Sudan and open discussions with the African government, a U.S.- designated sponsor of terrorism whose president, Omar al-Bashir, is charged with war crimes.
According to sources that spoke to the Associated Press, the administration is expected to announce the sanctions as part of a five-track engagement process. Although some financial sanctions will remain in place, it will be up to the incoming Trump administration as to whether or not to continue diplomatic talks with Khartoum.
The State Department first designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. The country gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden and was one of only three nations (Syria and Iran are the others) with such a designation after the Obama administration removed Cuba from the list in 2015.
The change in Sudan’s status with the U.S. comes months after Khartoum’s Muslim government released one of two Christian leaders imprisoned in the country since December, sources told The Baptist Press, but another pastor is still jailed without charges. Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services is known for targeting Christians and their churches in Sudan for attempting to prevent take-overs by Muslims investors of church property.
The Obama administration, however, claims the easing of sanctions against Sudan is due to the country’s willingness to restrict movement of Islamic State jihadists and its supposed shift toward aligning with Saudi Arabia as opposed to Iran.