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Monthly Bulletin - December 2015

Restrictions on the entry of Sudanese holders of European passports to Washington:

1. The US House of Representatives passed a bill that imposes restrictions on the entry of Sudanese holders of the European passport. By virtue of the bill which was submitted to the US Senate, the Sudanese, Iraqis and Iranians who hold European passports and they visited those countries during the past five years, should have an entry visa.

 

2. In this context, the United States authorities arrested a Sudanese citizen, holding the book of “Islamic state “ISIS” - management of savagery, written by Ambassador Abdullah al-Azraq. The airport security authorities were attracted by the book`s cover which bears the image of Bin Laden, Saddam, al-Zarqawi and al-Baghdadi.The Sudanese was arrested and subjected to interrogation; the security authorities did not release him, only after completing the investigations about the content of the book, then they had copied the book.

 

Sufi Shaikh’s delegation paid a visit to the United States:

1. President of the People initiative for normalization of relations between Sudan and the United Stateson the level of people and governments of the two countries, Essam al-Sheikh, revealed that the Americans request some documents proving the impacts of the US embargo on the health sector of the Sudanese citizen. As it pointed out that the delegation explained that the boycott has affected mainly, the citizen and not the government. Al-Sheikh said that the delegation met with 40 officials in the US government, civil society organizations and the Council of Churches.

2. During the debate, the delegation examined the position of Islam toward terrorism, confirming that Sudan hasn`t supported terrorism. The delegation also responded to the statements and controversial positions announced by the Republican candidate Ronald Trump against Muslims in the United States, especially after the bombing of    San Bernardino mosque - California - that coincided with the delegation's visit.

3. Mr. Essam el-Sheikh said that sufi Shaikhs’ visit was welcomed, contrarily to the precedent one which paid by the delegation of civil administrations. He reported that this popular initiative has been realized after many discussions sessions with the US ambassador and some members of the mission in Khartoum. Mr. Essam has reflected his personal experience on the impact of unilateral sanctions on citizens; as he owns  American-made excavation equipment that are used to dig wells in al- Jazeera state, stressing that these popular initiatives aim in the first place at dealing with the interest of the Sudanese citizen.

 

US Congress intends to take new measures against Sudan:

1. Information reported that the US Congress intends to approve a draft law specialized in the program of compensating terrorism victims and their families exposed to terrorist attacks cases and to block the normalization of relations with countries accused of sponsoring terrorism unless all cases are settled.

2. The draft resolution calls the US government to compensate the victims and their families from the fines imposed by the administration on the blocked global banks due to dealing with countries treated by Washington as states sponsoring terrorism.

3. In this regard the largest fine the great fine was attributed to the French bank BNP Paribas, (nine billion dollars). The victims’ families demand to allocate a portion of these fines to compensate for them. But the US administration refused. Therefore, they promptly, refer to the pressure groups to urge Congress to adopt such legislation to get immediate compensation from some countries, including Sudan.

4. The draft law does not include the normalization of relations with the countries classified in the US list of states sponsoring terrorism, only after the settlement of all lawsuits filed, by the families of all the victims, before the American judiciary. Should the Congress adopt this project, new obstacles would face the efforts of lifting US sanctions and breaking the economic embargo on Sudan.

5. In a related context, in the case of the USS Cole; the US court judged Sudan to pay the amount of 315 million $. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ibrahim Ghandour the case of the USS Cole is presented for the second time before the concerned US Court, upon the request of the Government of Sudan's lawyer, the prosecutor and the US Justice Department to reconsider this issue.

6. On the other hand, the report of the United Nations Council for Human Rights, which has been prepared after the visit of Ambassador Idriss Al-Jazaeri to Sudan, had revealed the unilateral coercive measures, accompanied with the explicit criticism of the sanctions regime, and has actually proved on the ground that the sanctions measures do not adversely affect the officials or the elite politicians, but their full impact is focused on innocent citizens and deepens the gap amid the Sudanese society income distribution.

7. According to the opinion of the expert Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council Centre; Africa Bureau (the call and demands of the Al-Jazaeri, couldn’t be ignored, as he is a respected man, a veteran and an internationally known diplomat who has a large experience in the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the foundation of Cooperation & Development Researches; certainly he was not calling for the abolition of the sanctions regime without rationale reasons). He adds: (It is time for Obama administration and Congress to reconsider the sanctions regime and to assess its compatibility with the strategy or morality).

THE HILL the US Congress newspaper calls for lifting sanctions on Khartoum:

1. In the framework of the debate about the feasibility of economic sanctions the United States imposed on some countries, amid political and strategic elites and even the stakeholders within the United States, the US Congress newspaper THE HILL approved that it was time to reconsider the US sanctions on Sudan, calling for the abolition of the comprehensive sanctions which affected only innocent people.

2. The newspaper demanded to clarify the strategic and moral reasons of keeping these sanctions, after presenting the evidences confirming that they do not meet the required standards. According to the newspaper, the US administration has recently made some gaps in sanctions system through some exceptions, which would enable the ending of these sanctions, should a partial expansion of those exceptions took place, ex: Gum Arabic and technology, in addition to the lifting of the ban of 55% of agricultural and environmental projects. 

3. In a related context, the American writer Doug Bando wrote, last August, an article entitled :(Time To Remove US Sanctions), at the Kato American Institute, which headed the opinion and international think tanks in 2014, Mr. Bando built his essay on the fact that there are no American interests behind the continuation of the sanctions, saying: (Washington must lift sanctions on Sudan because they do no longer serve US interests).

4. The American writer who has already visited Sudan said that there would be no reasonable grounds for the continuation of these sanctions, noting that the conflict in Darfur has calmed down, and the fighting in the Nuba Mountains does not exceed normal limits known for the Third world people. He added that there would be many countries that suffered from conflict; however, Washington did not impose sanctions on them; as it has done in Sudan.

US police has killed 1186 persons in 2015:

1. Data of a US human rights organization reported that the number of people killed by the police during 2015 exceeded one thousand persons. At a time the debate continues about the practice of an excessive police violence against civilians.

2. Foundation of (who were killed by the police), an American non-governmental organization, indicates that the number of people killed police during 2015 amounted to 1186 people. Due to the statistics of the institution; the death toll in 2015 has witnessed a high rate, compared with the last year (2014) 1 108 people killed, and the year before (2013) 796 persons were killed. 

3. California witnessed the highest death toll (205), followed by Texas with 108, then Florida with 70 people, whereas the death toll in the capital Washington reached 7 deaths. Most of the victims are blacks and Middle East citizens. The data show that 994 people were killed by police firing. The rest are killed by using Teasers or they were crashed by car. US police allege usually after killing any black person that he was armed.

Members of the US Senate refused to lift Iran sanctions:

1. Members of the US Senate called on President Obama not to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran after it criticized Vienna Convention, expressing their concern over Tehran's recent ballistic tests. It was expected that sanctions on Iran to be lifted in January 2016.

2. 35 members of the Republican Party and 21 members of the Democratic Party have presented to the Senate two separate letters to President Obama on December 16 and December 17, 2015, condemning Iran’s two trials of launching ballistic missiles, on October 10 and November21 2015, which was considered as violation of The United Nations Convention resolutions on Iran.

3. Republicans, including his rival John McCain, wrote to Obama (that your administration has failed to take concrete measures against Iran's insistence on developing weapons of mass destruction, and that position encourages it to continue its violation of international commitments, the threat to US national security and the security of its allies). 

Biden: Russia must restore the Crimea to Ukraine:

1. Joe Biden, US vice-president affirmed on Monday, December 7, 2015 in Kiev the US support for pro-Western authorities in confronting the continued Russian aggression. Calling at the same time, to fight against corruption that affects Ukraine.

2. As president in charge of this issue by the US administration, Biden called on the Kremlin to respect the peace agreements in the Middle Ukrainian, and added that the United States would stand with the Ukrainian people vis-à-vis the continued Russian aggression.

3. He added that Minsk peace agreement signed by the French German-mediation would not succeed unless Russia fulfills its commitments.  Minsk convention acknowledges the right of Ukraine to control its border with Russia, which is about 20%, e.g. 400 km controlled by pro-Moscow separatists. As well as the withdrawal of foreign mercenary forces. The dispute broke out a month after Russia has annexed Crimea in 2014. 

4. Biden said: Russia has to stop the occupation of Ukraine territory, which enjoys sovereignty, and that Crimea is an Ukrainian territory. Biden revealed that Washington got assurances from Europe to retain the Western sanctions imposed on Russia, in 2014, because of its negative role in the Ukrainian crisis.

5. At the same time, he called on Ukrainians to validate the terms of the agreement for the adoption of a constitutional amendment that grants more autonomy in the separatist regions, and organize local elections there.

6. Ukrainians fear that their Western allies support, some of whom sought to resume the dialogue with Moscow to resolve the Syrian conflict regardless to supporting their cause, would be retrieved.

Russia vows to respond to the United States expanded sanctions:

1. Russia has announced that it would prepare a particular response to the expansion of US sanctions against it. Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted by news agency Sputnik Russia: (the United States is seeking to damage the interests of Russia, and Moscow believes that US sanctions expansion, reveals its desire to infringe in the interests of Russia, and will prepare a particular response to those procedures).

2. She added: Such actions are not logic; especially the new sanctions that were imposed after US Secretary of State John Kerry talks in Moscow to discuss ways of cooperation to solve the most important international and regional issues.

3. Zakharova reaffirmed: (we are looking with the Americans, for ways to solve the Ukrainian crisis, and from the other hand, some measures would be taken to impose sanctions on Russia).

4. The United States has expanded its list of sanctions against Russia to include 34 legal and ordinary personalities, including a number of major Russian bank branches, as well as the Russian electronic payment service (Yandex).

The biggest challenge for North America is the risk of nuclear program of North Korea:

1. US official said (former): North Korea nuclear risk of is one of the most difficult foreign policy challenges for the United States, as hoping of regime change there, or Pyongyang unilateral declaration to abandon this dangerous military capabilities is not a realistic strategy.

2. Michelle Waller Stein, president of Baruch College of the City University (University of New York), former US Deputy Secretary of Defense, for the policy of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons wrote an article published by The Washington Post, where he stated: that the governments of the (Kim) successive family in North Korea respond only to the language of force and firmness.

3. Waller Stan added: Diplomacy is the best way to solve this problem before crossing any red lines. Otherwise, the cost of continuing to ignore the accumulation of the nuclear threat of North Korea would be serious.

4. He stated that North Korea has involved in four initiatives to strengthen its military capabilities, namely:

(A) Increasing the amount of plutonium and the highly enriched uranium for the development of missiles.

(B) Producing long-range missiles capable of reaching, in the initial stage, targets in the Pacific Ocean.

(C) Develop the smallest and lightest nuclear warheads, to be carried on long-range missiles.

(D) Seeking to provide strategic viable deterrent through making small submarines to launch rockets, plus a mobile land-based rocket launch system. 

5. He stressed that the satellite images confirm that this (state) is making progress in the four-mentioned field, and that its stockpile of nuclear warheads will range, next year, between sixteen, then twenty warheads in 2020. However, this is not the real situation, as President Barack Obama administration has sought since its first day to reconsolidate the relationship with North Korea, but failed, due to lack of the following effective, attractive and available policy options: 

A. Implementation of secondary sanctions, in addition to the applicable valid sanctions.

B. Reactivate the stopped six-nation talks.

C. Declaration of red (hazardous) lines for the testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

D. Announcement of Washington's intention to use military force, if North Korea overcome those red lines.

6. He said: to persuade Pyongyang to participate in the negotiations is not easy and costly because of its Crippling condition, but the key to each successful diplomatic initiative is China, because of its influence and relations with North Korea. To convince China to play this role, the US must be prepared to make some concessions and to carry out courageous steps to overcome the current impasse. 

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