The United States has removed Sudan from a list of
countries deemed as withholding cooperation in the war against Al Qaida.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has removed Sudan from a list of
countries deemed "noncooperative" in efforts against Al Qaida and related
groups. Powell's decision does not remove Sudan from the State Department's
list of terrorist sponsors.
Officials said the State Department decision, recorded in the Federal
Register on Tuesday, was meant to encourage the Khartoum regime to complete
a peace agreement with southern rebels. The removal of Sudan from the
list, they said, also marked an effort to prod the regime into ending the
war in the Darfour province.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Sudan has shown
"remarkable" improvement in sharing intelligence with the United States on
Al Qaida-related groups. Boucher said Sudan has requested to be removed from
the State Department's terrorist sponsor list.
"Sudan has taken a number of steps in cooperation against terrorism over
the past few years," Boucher said. "Where there have been positive steps, we
will seek to reward it; and where there are negative steps, we will point it
out and make it an issue."
The State Department move was in accordance with an annual certification
pursuant to Section 40[a] of the Arms Export Control Act. The law bans the
sale or license for export of defense articles and services to countries
determined to be not cooperating fully with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
The State Department decision angered several leading members of
Congress. They said Sudan has refused to cooperate with international
efforts to end the war in Darfour, which has led to the expulsion of nearly
two million people from their homes.
The United Nations reported on Tuesday that a UN vehicle that was
carrying food was attacked by the government-backed Janjaweed militia
last week. A UN statement said militia members looted the truck and assault
Powell's decision would not lead to U.S. weapons sales to Sudan, which
remains on the State Department's terror list. Boucher said Sudan continues
to harbor such Palestinian groups as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
"[The decision] is basically nothing because since they remain on the
state sponsors list, they're not eligible for exports of U.S. defense
articles and services," Boucher said.