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Khartoum Ready to Work with New Obama Administration

Sudan says it is ready to work with President Barack Obama's administration despite being classified as a state sponsor of terrorism by the Bush and Clinton administrations. Khartoum is calling on the new Obama administration to lift the sanctions and embargo placed on Sudan after being labeled a state sponsor of terrorism. Diplomatic relations between Washington and Khartoum have been testy after the United States accused President Bashir's government of committing genocide in Darfur. Ambassador Ali Al-Sadiq is spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Khartoum wants its name deleted a state sponsor of terrorism as well as all sanctions lifted.

"You see we don't want much. We want very normal relations and we want America to acknowledge that we are not a sponsor of terrorism so we want our name to be lifted from that list. There are various unfair and unjust economic sanctions imposed on us and we want these sanctions to be lifted," Ambassador Al-Sadiq pointed out.

He said Khartoum acknowledges the challenges it faces in the Darfur region, and that it is trying to find ways to resolve them.

"We have problems in Darfur and we tried our best to resolve it but we failed. Then we went to the African Union and we also did not succeed there due to complications and we went internationally. We asked the international community and the United Nations to help us and luckily we secured the agreement with the United Nations and the African Union to work together to solve the problems," he said.

Ambassador Al-Sadiq said despite the challenges Khartoum faces, it is hopeful of making headway in the resolution of the problem in Darfur.

"Unfortunately we are having problems with the political levels in resolving the Darfur issue. So, we need the efforts of the United States to convince the rebels to come together with the government to talk and find a lasting solutions to the problems," Ambassador Al-Sadiq noted.

He said there is a two-prong approach to resolving the problems in Darfur.

"You see the problem of Darfur is being solved in two main tracks. The first track is the peacekeeping which is now assigned to 26 thousand African troops with the help financially and logistically from the United Nations. And this is going on now although there are many handicaps facing the deployment of the troops, but the African Union and the United Nations are working hard to overcome those difficulties. The other track is the full settlement peaceful settlement solution. This is where we face real problems because most of the rebels are not willing to come to hold negotiations to resolve the problem," Ambassador Ali Al-Sadiq pointed out.

He said there was need for the United States government under President Barack Obama to put pressure on the rebels to come to the negotiating table to find solutions to the problems.

"Now the state of Qatar is spearheading an initiative to bring the government and the rebels together and what we need from the new U.S administration is to talk to the other western countries where the leaders of those rebels are living and pressure them hard so that the rebels would listen to the voice of peace and reason," he said.

Ambassador Ali Al-Sadiq said Khartoum is ready to work with the new U.S administration to resolve the problems in Darfur.

"Yes we are ready. The will is there the intention is there and we believe that President Obama and his administration would work hard to rid the world of so many problems and so many complications. And we are just a small fraction of those who are hoping around the world," Ambassador Al-Sadiq noted.

He said it behooves on Washington to remove Khartoum from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

"It is not in our hands (to have our name removed from the list). During the last eight years, we allowed the Bush administration to come to Sudan to establish by themselves the reality whether Sudan is really sponsoring terrorism or not. They acknowledged that they knew that Sudan is not a sponsor of terrorism and there is not even a single incident where Sudan is proved to be behind a terrorist activity. The name of Sudan in the list is meant for itself, it is not because Sudan is really sponsoring terrorism," he said.

Meanwhile under President Bill Clinton's administration, Sudan was placed on the list of a state sponsor of terror, and in 1998 the U.S. launched an air strike launched on what was described as a chemical weapons plant in Khartoum. Sudan denied the accusation, saying the plant was a medicine factory.

There were suspicions between Washington and Khartoum under former President George Bush after the United States accused President Bashir's government of committing atrocities in Darfur, adding that Sudan was not interested in peace.