The Sudanese government has said it is prepared to cut ties with North Korea in order to improve its relationship with Washington, the country’s foreign minister told a U.S. diplomat on Thursday.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, currently on a state visit to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, told reporters that the country had taken “positive” steps towards removing its own listing as a state sponsor of terror.
“We are also committed to having no trade or military relations with North Korea and hope that the Korean peninsula remains free of nuclear weapons,” Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told Sullivan, in comments carried by the e-news channel Africa.
Ghandour added that Sudan was committed to enforcing UN resolutions on the DPRK, while the U.S. diplomat reported discussions about the DPRK had been high on the agenda during the visit.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that the U.S. welcomed the move.
“Isolating the North Korean regime is a top priority for the United States, and is a key element to maintaining peace and stability worldwide,” Nauert said. “The United States is grateful for Sudan’s commitment to take these important steps in light of the critical threat posed by the DPRK.”
Khartoum claimed it had cut military ties with Pyongyang in November last year. Ghandour delivered the news to South Korea during a state visit, adding that the country was fully compliant with UN resolutions targeting North Korea.
In July 2017, Washington said that it had extended the review period of its sanctions against Sudan to ensure that it was fulfilling its international obligations on the DPRK.
To date, Sudan has only filed one implementation report to the UN Security Council detailing its sanctions enforcement efforts.
The report goes into little detail and is only one paragraph long, stating the country “is fully committed to implementing Resolution 2270 and has informed all relevant authorities of the provisions contained therein.”
Some of Sudan’s previous military cooperation with North Korea came to light in 2011, when a WikiLeaks cable revealed U.S. concerns over a weapons deal between the two countries.
The Sudanese government had attempted to buy North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles, short-range missiles, and anti-tank missiles, the cable revealed.
“Given the serious implications of cooperation with North Korea in the procurement of missiles or missile-related technology, we strongly urge Sudan not to engage in such missile activity with North Korea,” the cable reads.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: Khartoum, Sudan by Christopher.Michel on 2017-01-30 03:53:21