Terrorism Sponsor No More? Obama Hints at Taking Sudan from the List

By LaFranchi, Howard | The Christian Science Monitor, February 7, 2011 | Go to article overview

Terrorism Sponsor No More? Obama Hints at Taking Sudan from the List


LaFranchi, Howard, The Christian Science Monitor


US says it holds the door open for Sudan to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism if it meets its 'obligations,' including recognition of an independent South Sudan.

The United States on Monday held out the prospect of reducing its dwindling list of state sponsors of terrorism by yet another country, with both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton saying Sudan could soon be removed from the list.

Talk of Sudan's possible removal from the sponsor-of-terror list came in the context of the release Monday of official results of a January referendum in South Sudan showing that the predominantly Christian half of the country had voted to secede.

The US said Monday it will recognize an independent southern Sudan - and added that recognition of an independent south by Khartoum would pave the way for a review of Sudan's 16-year-old terror sponsor designation.

IN PICTURES: South Sudan referendum

"For those who meet all of their obligations, there is a path to greater prosperity and normal relations with the United States, including examining Sudan's designations as a state sponsor of terrorism," Mr. Obama said in a statement.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir on Monday appeared to accept the inevitable and said he wanted to be the first to congratulate the south on its vote to form a new state.

Sudan currently occupies the US terrorism list with three other countries: Cuba, Iran, and Syria. The Bush administration removed two countries from the list - Libya in 2006 and North Korea in 2008 - although the Obama administration has said it was considering returning North Korea to the list after a series of nuclear and missile tests in 2009.

Darfur still an issue

The State Department said Monday that Sudan has demonstrated that it wants normalized relations with the US. Since 2006 the State Department has reported improving "cooperation" from Sudan in the global war on terror, but the regime in Khartoum has also won demerits for the war in its own western province of Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese citizens have been killed or displaced.

In his statement, Obama made special mention of Darfur, repeating US insistence that attacks on civilians there must stop.

Secretary Clinton said Sudan could be removed from the state- sponsor list if it meets the requirements of US law - including a finding that it had not sponsored any act of terror in the preceding six months. …

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