Egypt praises United States decision overturning two-decades long Sudan sanctions

Women and children wait to be registered prior to a food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme in Thonyor Leer state South Sudan

REUTERS Siegfried Modola Five Million Sudanese Currently in Middle of Famine as War Rages Drought Approaches

Despite Washington's decision to formally revoke some economic sanctions against Sudan, the country will still remain on the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Rights groups raised concerns that it would be premature to remove sanctions. The U.S. has been calling on Sudan to expand humanitarian access, improve human rights, cooperate on counterterrorism and reinforce a cease-fire in conflict areas.

She said the move recognised Sudan's "sustained positive actions" but more progress was needed. Now slain Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.

Andrew Prasow, from Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that lifting the sanctions "sent the wrong message" when Sudan had "made so little progress on human rights".

The US extended the sanctions regime a decade later over the Darfur conflict.

Officials also said they asked for and got a commitment from Sudan not to purchase arms from Pyongyang.

The United States first imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997, including a trade embargo and blocking government assets.

Citing improved bilateral cooperation, particularly on counter-terrorism, improvements in humanitarian access, and "the ending of internal hostilities", the Obama administration began allowing US firms to trade in Sudan as a reward for improved behavior.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989, is accused by the ourt of committing genocide in Darfur.

Shortly before leaving office, Barack Obama temporarily eased penalties that had been in place for two decades against the African nation. According to the United Nations, since 2003 when ethnic groups rebelled against the government at least 300,000 people have been killed and over 2.5 million have been displaced. The government has announced unilateral cease-fires in areas where the Sudanese army has been fighting rebels, and created more access for humanitarian aid to get to displaced civilians.

The decision will contribute to enhancing stability and development in Sudan after a long time suffering from the consequences of sanctions, said Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman in a press statement.

The US State Department also issued a statement earlier in the day, citing Sudan's effort to address the issues of terrorism as well as human rights abuses as grounds for making that decision.

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