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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
UN lifts sanctions on Sudan
Buildings burn in Khartoum after air strike (1998)
US strikes on Khartoum followed the 1998 bombings
The United Nations has lifted sanctions against Sudan after the United States dropped its objections to the move.

The US abstained from the Security Council vote, but all the other 14 members voted to end the sanctions.


They have worked with us to eliminate the presence of terrorist groups that could threaten American interests

Richard Boucher
US State Department spokesman
The UN imposed the sanctions on Sudan in 1996 to try to force the country to hand over several people suspected of involvement in a failed plot to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Officials in the US State Department have praised Sudan's recent arrests of suspected terrorists believed to have links to Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden.

Separate sanctions imposed unilaterally on Sudan by the United States remain in force.

Co-operation

Sudan remains on a list of nations the US accuses of sponsoring terrorism, but Washington says the government in Khartoum has been co-operating since the suicide attacks on 11 September.

"In the last few weeks since the attacks in New York and Washington, we have had some serious discussions with the government of Sudan about ways to combat terrorism," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

"They have worked with us to eliminate the presence of terrorist groups that could threaten American interests," Mr Boucher said.

"They've provided information on the past doings of terrorist groups in Sudan, they've recently apprehended extremists who might threaten people there," he added.

Mr Boucher said Khartoum still needed to do more though and said Washington would continue to "work with Sudan and pressure Sudan to take those kinds of steps."

Reaction

The main rebel group in Sudan, the SPLA, who have been fighting a decades old war seeking greater autonomy for Sudan's Christian and animist south responded to the sanctions lift by saying that the move was "counter-productive".

Sudan
Millions have faced starvation in recent years in Sudan

SPLA spokesman Sam Kwaje said Khartoum would soon go back to its old ways of supporting terrorism.

But correspondents say President Omar al-Bashir's government has made strenuous efforts to rid Sudan of its reputation as a pariah state which provides a safe haven for extremist groups.

Agents from the CIA and the FBI have been in Khartoum for more than a year cooperating with Sudanese intelligence in monitoring alleged terrorist groups.

Bin Laden

The UN sanctions were largely symbolic and few nations, apart from the US, complied with them.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden still has investments in Sudan

However, the US economic sanctions which remain in place prevent any business dealings between the US and Sudan and damage Khartoum much more.

Sanctions on humanitarian supplies were eased some time ago.

Osama Bin Laden, held responsible for the suicide attacks in the United States and the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, used to be based in Sudan.

But he is now thought to be in Afghanistan and the Sudanese authorities say he has taken all his supporters with him.

In 1998 a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was destroyed by US missiles following the US embassy attacks.

See also:

07 Sep 01 | Africa
US seeks 'sanity' in Sudan
23 Sep 01 | Africa
Bin Laden's Sudan links remain
28 Apr 99 | Americas
US softens sanctions
18 Sep 01 | Africa
Sudan 'safe from US attack'
29 May 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Sudan
07 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Sudan
21 Apr 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Oil and Sudan's civil war
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