Bashir protests US travel advisory to Sudan

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Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir

Sudan said Tuesday it regrets a new US travel advisory urging Americans against visiting the African country where Washington warned “terrorist groups” were plotting attacks targeting foreigners.

The latest advisory was issued by the State Department on Monday and posted on the website of the American embassy in Khartoum.

It replaces a previous travel warning issued in October 2017, just days after Washington lifted its decades-old trade embargo imposed on Khartoum in 1997.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Sudan, especially in Khartoum,” the latest US advisory said.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities, and areas frequented by Westerners.”

US citizens should also avoid travel to Sudan’s three conflict areas — Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

It also warned Americans against travelling to the states of Kassala and North Kordofan that are under a state of emergency since last year.

“Arbitrary detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country,” the advisory said, adding that the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to Americans in Sudan.

Sudan’s foreign ministry said it regretted Washington’s advisory, which came despite the United Nations, African Union, the European Union and the Arab League acknowledging there being an overall “positive political and security environment” in the country.

“This positive environment has enabled American embassy delegations in Khartoum to travel freely across all Darfur states,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The advisory ignores the reality on the ground in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan and also contradicts latest reports by UN and its mission in Darfur.”

Urging Washington to review its advisory, the ministry said Khartoum is committed to fight “terrorism” along with its international partners to enhance regional security.

Washington lifted its sanctions on October 12 but kept Khartoum in its blacklist of “state sponsors of terrorism” along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The US designated Sudan a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1993 and in 1997 imposed trade sanctions over Khartoum’s alleged support for Islamist groups. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden used to live in Sudan from 1992 to 1996.

Source: AFP

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