Rep. Bass Comments on Lifting of U.S. Sanctions on Sudan
"During the past year, there has been notable progress in areas outlined by the Five Track Engagement Plan (5TEP), including: Opening humanitarian access throughout the country; maintaining a cessation of hostilities in Darfur and the Two Areas (Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State); ceasing support to South Sudanese rebel movements and cooperating on threats to regional security. While some are concerned that lifting sanctions on Sudan will cause it to lose interest in continued progress or alternatively, that the U.S. will lose key leverage points, neither is likely. Critical actors, particularly those in Congress, are committed to ensuring that Sudan continues on its path to improving the lives of the Sudanese people.
"Now that we have a final decision, it is vital that our future engagement emphasize human rights and respect for religious freedoms. In addition, we should look toward partnering with Sudan and the international community to create sustainable peace in the country.
"The first US sanctions were imposed on Sudan more than 20 years ago. Since then, the country has come a long way from state-sponsorship of terrorism and internal conflicts such as atrocities and genocide perpetrated by the government. Ultimately, the lifting of sanctions is a positive development for the Sudanese people and will enable a constructive dialogue to advance mutual security and economic interests in the region. Given that 46.5 percent of Sudan’s population lives below the poverty line, with sanctions relief Sudan can better develop its economic engines, including agriculture, which employs 80 percent of the workforce. Furthermore, the removal of sanctions will also significantly improve the business environment, encourage foreign investment and make conducting business in the country easier."