US senator hints possibility of lifting Sudan from countries sponsoring terrorism

13:02, January 07, 2011      

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Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Senator John Kerry speaks during a news conference at the headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum, Sudan, Jan. 6, 2011. (Xinhua/Mohammed Babiker)


Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Senator John Kerry on Thursday hinted possibility of lifting Sudan from the U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism and affirmed his personal support to that move.

"President Obama has made it clear that if the referendum proceeds peacefully, and if the other issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are resolved and we move forward peacefully and continue to work on the Darfur, he is prepared to submit to the Congress the lifting of the designation on terrorism in writing," Kerry told reporters after talks with Ibrahim Ghandour, secretary of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) for political affairs.

"I personally support doing that. I think we are on a very positive track on that. The United States is interested in a stable and peaceful north. We are interested in Sudan's future for all of its citizens," he added.

The U.S senator further reiterated his country's desire to establish normal relations with Sudan, saying that "President Obama is very committed to restoring the relationship with Sudan that allows our countries and our peoples to work together, travel together, visit together and begin to build the future together."

Kerry, in the meantime, refuted that his country was supporting separation of south Sudan in the referendum scheduled for Sunday, saying "obviously we have been involved in the question of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which allowed the south to have a referendum, but that was not our decision. That was a decision made by the parties."

"Five years now we have known that this moment would come. We did not know what the outcome would be, but we knew this moment would come. We believe that we need to act evenhandedly, in a fair way, to make sure that if there are two states, if that is what is decided, we will deal evenhandedly and fairly with both states," he added.

Ibrahim Ghandour, for his part, reiterated the party's commitment to conducting the south Sudan referendum as scheduled and respecting its results whether unity or separation.

Kerry arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday in a week-long visit to Sudan to follow up progress of the referendum.

This is the third visit for Kerry to Sudan since 2010 where he is scheduled to meet officials from north and south Sudan to encourage conduction of a peaceful referendum on the broadest base of agreements between the two sides.


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