North Sudan Foreign Minister Criticises Parliament On Rebuke of U.S. Congress

The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti today directed rare criticism at the national assembly over a resolution it passed last week rebuking the United States Congress.

After long deliberations on the U.S.-Sudan relations in which testimonies of officials were heard, the parliament adopted a decision rejecting the Congress’s stances that led to sanctions and not fulfilling pledges made by Washington.

The legislative body also called for reviewing the bilateral ties and instituting a ” tit for tat” policy in dealing with Washington.

But Sudan’s top diplomat described the national assembly’s move as “excessive zeal”.

“With all respect to the parliament, I believe that its last handling of the [issue of] Congress, was excessive zeal and I do not think that we do good to our country if we start a confrontation that is not in its place,” Karti said in an interview with a local newspaper.

“We need to win votes from within the Congress to strengthen the position of Sudan and any negative message would certainly backfire,” he added.

The U.S. promised Sudan that it would be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for cooperation on the referendum vote that led to Southerners voting for secession from the North.

South Sudan officially became an independent state on July 9th and its Northern neighbor was the first to recognize the new state.

Presence on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list bars a country from receiving U.S. arms exports, controls sales of items with military and civilian applications, limits U.S. aid and requires Washington to vote against loans to the country from international financial institutions.

The U.S. said it initiated the process to de-list Sudan but stressed it would only be dropped if it met all criteria under U.S. law.

Since then, however, the North and South have failed to permanently resolve a dispute over the border region of Abyei and seen fresh violence in South Kordofan state, another border flashpoint.

U.S. officials said Khartoum needed to follow through on all of these, as well as improve conditions in the western region of Darfur, before Washington could move on improving bilateral ties.

The Sudanese foreign minister described progress in normalizing ties with U.S. as slow but positive and hailed the roadmap drafted by Washington for upgrading ties.

“Just establishing a roadmap that we can be dealing with and use as benchmark; I think that this has not happened before” Karti said.

He stressed that the U.S. administration told Khartoum that Israeli bombing earlier this year of suspected arm smugglers and events in South Kordofan will not slow down the process of normalizing ties.