WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The United States will lift trade sanctions on Sudan in a shift of policy, the Obama administration announced.
An executive order released Thursday noted the Sudanese government's "positive actions over the last six months." The North African country has made improvements in humanitarian efforts, reduced military hostilities and cooperated with the United States on anti-terrorism efforts, the order says. The new U.S. strategy for Sudan, to be revealed Friday, calls for a lifting of sanctions, which will allow Sudan to purchase sorely needed items such as tractors and parts, as well as attract investment.
In return, Sudan has promised to improve access for humanitarian organizations and end the bombing of insurgent groups. The embargo can be reinstated by the United States in six months, if necessary.
Trade sanctions were first levied on Sudan in 1997, after it was accused of sponsoring international terrorism. Osama bin Laden lived in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, as the government's guest, after his agents were found responsible for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. The bombings killed more than 200 people. In response, U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan.
Although sanctions were lifted by Obama's executive order, the sale of military supplies is still prohibited. Sudan will remain on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, with Iran and Syria, and some Sudanese individuals still face sanctions.