Sudan Closing Hamas And Hezbollah Offices In Bid For U.S. Sanctions Relief

From The Hill:
Sudan will shutter the offices of Hamas and Hezbollah as part of its efforts to rebuild relations with the U.S. and get sanctions lifted.

The government of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is expected to announce at some point the action against the two groups, both considered terrorist organizations by the U.S, according to a source close to the government.

The move was first reported by the U.K.-based online news organization Middle East Eye and comes as Sudan’s interim civilian and military government works towards developing democracy in the East African country.

Renouncing support for terrorism organizations and taking steps to disrupt their operations is one of a number of steps Sudan’s recently inaugurated government is taking to satisfy requirements to be removed from U.S. designation of a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Sudan shares the designation with three other countries – North Korea, Iran and Syria – and is therefore subject to crippling sanctions that are meant to isolate it from the international economy.

Hamdok was sworn in as Sudan’s new prime minister in August, following a grassroots and popular revolution that led to the overthrow of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

The closing of the Hamas and Hezbollah offices follows Hamdok’s trip to Washington earlier this month, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is prepared to elevate relations with Sudan by exchanging ambassadors for the first time in over two decades.

But the office closures are likely largely symbolic, said Cameron Hudson, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Africa Center, given that Hamas and Hezbollah operations have been dormant in the country for years.

“The announcement that they are formally closing the offices suggests to me that they were essentially dormant, although not formally closed,” he said.

The Trump Administration partially lifted sanctions against Sudan in 2017. Hudson said that during that time the Bashir regime was asked to renounce support for Hezbollah and Hamas….

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