The United States has amended the
regulations for its sanctions against Sudan, allowing for more assistance.
The announcement comes during a visit to Sudan by U.S. Special Envoy
Treasury Department is issuing a general license that allows the "exportation
and re-exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices to
specified areas of Sudan."
areas include Southern Sudan, Southern Kordofan / Nuba Mountains State, Blue
Nile State, Abyei, Darfur and what are called marginalized areas in and around
The change was made by OFAC, the Office of Foreign Assets Control within the Treasury Department. Such amendments are not uncommon when the U.S. wants to clear the way for humanitarian aid for parts of a country that may be at odds with the United States.
announcement also comes at a time when the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) between the North and South is showing signs of strain.
think it is an interesting and an important step," says Foud Hikmat, special
advisor on Sudan and the A.U. for the International Crisis Group, in Nairobi.
the CPA was signed, he says, funding development programs for Southern Sudan
lagged because of the crisis in another region of the country, Darfur. Donors attached conditions to the funds,
calling for a settlement there between the government and its militia allies
and rebel groups.
million people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands killed, in what
U.S. officials and others have described as genocide.
is important at this…time where Sudan now is really going through a bottleneck.
And everybody is concerned whether it is going to come out of this bottleneck
into stability or perhaps implode," he says.
Both sides want something
"One of the things that they (ruling
party leaders) want is normalization…with the U.S. administration. And as part of this bargaining the U.S. envoy
wants to make sure that theCPA does not fall apart…and finding a solution in
Darfur, the National Congress Party alsowants something back, something in
return," he says.
relations would include the lifting of sanctions and removing Sudan from the
U.S. list of nations that support terrorists.
areas that now are excluded from these sanctions definitely need this money
because without the peace dividends (for) the normal citizen, in terms of the
social services, in terms of livelihood, the situation is not going to change,"
Sanctions amendment sends message
"Politically, it's giving a
message. How significant, of course,
remains to be seen…. The biggest problem
in Sudan is the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the
benchmarks ahead of us, which are the elections and the referendum (in Southern
Sudan) and finding a solution to Darfur.
So that then Darfur could be…brought into the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. At the moment, this is not
there," he says.
The referendum is scheduled for 2011 on whether Southern Sudan should break away and become independent.
ICG advisor describes the situation in Sudan as "serious stagnation."
there isn't a breakthrough in the coming period, I think that we'll see Sudan
risking sliding into more chaos," he says.
and other analysts see a real risk of renewed war in Sudan if the CPA is not
fully implemented. The war between the
north and south lasted more than 20 years.
"It's not just only the war like
before. It might be even bigger than
that because it might involve…violence within the north and not just only
Darfur, which is going to have serious consequences for Sudan and for the immediate
region and for Africa as a whole," he says.