Sudan on Wednesday announced it was freezing negotiations with the United States in retaliation for the Trump administration's move to postpone permanently lifting US sanctions on the African country. Earlier, Washington said it wanted more time to determine whether the government of President Omar al-Bashir had made enough progress after decades of isolation, war, and abuses. Following the US announcement, al-Bashir decided "to suspend the work of the negotiating committee with the US until Oct. 12," according to a brief announcement carried by the official SUNA news agency. Sudan has been under US financial sanctions since the 1990s, when it was briefly home to Osama bin Laden and accused of sponsoring terrorism, reports the AP.
Just before leaving office, former President Barack Obama issued an executive order that immediately lifted the sanctions on a probationary basis. It was to become permanent on Wednesday unless the Trump administration acted to stop it. President Trump, in a new executive order issued later Tuesday, moved that deadline back by three months, while keeping the temporary sanctions relief in place. The sanctions will permanently expire on Oct. 13 unless the administration acts to snap them back into place. The Obama administration justified lifting the sanctions by citing improved counterterrorism efforts, and al-Bashir and his government had previously said they met all requirements and expected sanctions to be lifted. But human rights activists have opposed the move. Al-Bashir has for years evaded arrest and a trial at the International Criminal Court.