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Sudan: Sudanese media dwell on Sudan-US relations

- Sudanese daily newspapers Friday fed heavily on a statement by the Foreign Minister, Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, that his country’s relations with the US have witnessed some overture.

But Ghandour was later to express pessimism that an all-out lifting of sanctions, unilaterally imposed on Khartoum, would go away soon.

“I am not optimistic,“ the daily al Youm Al Tali (Arabic for Next Day) quoted the minister as saying Friday.

However, the minister was quoted as telling a symposium, organized by the Future Studies Centre - a Khartoum-based think tank - that dialogue with the Americans will continue until "we reach our strategic objective of normal relationship.”

"Recently, we have witnessed some development because we have direct dialogue with the US administration, but it is moving at a tortoise speed," the daily quoted the minister as saying.

Al Sudani daily (Arabic for the Sudanese) quoted the minister as saying that some breakthroughs have occurred in the course of his country's relations with the US, signaling the lowering by Washington of pressure on Khartoum.

, Sudan's chairing international institutions and evading Chapter IV of the Human Rights Convention.

But, according to the daily, the minister is skeptical over the lifting of sanctions on some electronic programming and other (insignificant) fields, while the sanctions on banking transfers continues.

Dr. Ghandour said that the Sudanese-American relations "have long remained in a state of fluctuation, close to hostility."

He added that the pressure "has not receded, as was expected, after the secession of South Sudan" but, he went on, saying that some breakthroughs and signs have now shown up to prove an ease of the Washington pressure.

Dr. Ghandour accused some Sudanese he did not name of playing "a negative" role for making the Washington-Khartoum relations "close to hostility."

Another independent daily, quoted Sudan’s Foreign Minister Friday as saying his country does not object to normalizing relations with Israel.

“This is a question that could be pondered”, the independent daily, al-Jareeda (Arabic for the newspaper) quoted Ghandour as saying.

This is the first time a senior government official was quoted as not categorically rejecting such a possibility. But the Minister did not elaborate further.

Sudan has no relations with Israel and only three years ago, the stamp of “valid to all countries except Israel and South Africa” was removed from travel documents of Sudanese nationals.

The daily said the minister was speaking Thursday in response to an intervention by a leading Islamist Abdalla Deng Nihal ,one of the presidential candidates during the 2010 presidential elections in the Sudan and who was standing in for the Popular National Congress party of Dr Turabi at the time.

It said Nihal wondered why the Sudan was now ready to consider normalizing relationship with Israel as a prelude to improving relations with the US.

However, the minister was quoted as making it clear that it does not base its relations with one country on improving relations with another country.

“We have a very clear strategy,” the minister was quoted as saying, “we observe our neighbors first, then our African and Arab friends."


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