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UN Lifts Sanctions Against Sudan - 2001-09-28

The United Nations Security Council has ended the five-year-old sanctions program against Sudan. The action came after the United States dropped its objection.

The vote was 14 in favor of lifting the sanctions with the United States abstaining from the vote.

The U.N. sanctions imposed travel restrictions on Sudanese government officials and were adopted in 1996 because Sudan was accused of harboring terrorists who organized an assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The plot was to have been carried out while President Mubarak was visiting Ethiopia in 1995.

Since then, Sudan has said it no longer provides any kind of haven for terrorists and the governments of both Egypt and Ethiopia called for lifting the sanctions.

The United States had misgivings about removing the sanctions until a few days ago when Sudan signaled its support for the international fight against terrorism.

U.S. representative James Cunningham told the Security Council the decision by his government not to veto the action was influenced by the positions of Egypt and Ethiopia. He said recent Sudanese cooperation against terrorism was also a factor in the U.S. decision. "Sudan has recently apprehended extremists within that country, whose activities may have contributed to international terrorism," Mr. Cunningham said. "Sudan is also engaged in serious discussions with my government about ways to combat terrorism. We welcome those steps and expect this cooperation to continue."

Diplomats say the U.S. action is a signal that the United States will look favorably on nations that provide serious cooperation in the battle against terrorism.

Despite the lifting of U.N. sanctions, broader United States government sanctions against Sudan, imposed on human rights grounds, remain in effect.