US Diplomat Optimistic about Normalizing Ties with Sudan
A senior US diplomat in Khartoum is optimistic that Washington will restore normal relations with Sudan in the near future, newspapers reported Tuesday.
The US charge d'affaires in Khartoum, Donald Teitelbaum, told parliament Monday that a relaxation in bilateral relations "is in sight" and Washington "is determined" to have those ties restored to normal, the papers said.
Teitelbaum said he was working with Sudanese officials to try to resolve unnamed issues but was confident his efforts would achieve "positive results for removing the problems that have arisen in the past years."
Teitelbaum reportedly asked members of the State Legislative Council to help him bring the views of the two countries closer, describing as "good" the ties between the two peoples.
The parliament's speaker Babiker Ali al-Toam was reported to have briefed the US diplomat on the political situation in Sudan and on the formation and performance of the Legislative Council.
Toam said the diplomat was invited to the parliament to help foster "direct communication" between peoples and governments and create an atmosphere conducive to improving US-Sudanese ties.
Earlier this month, the government here said it was working to reopen its embassy in Washington as senior US diplomats like Teitelbaum have been making frequent visits from Kenya since late April.
The US government moved its Khartoum embassy staff to Nairobi for security reasons about four years ago, although the ambassador used to visit the Sudanese capital once a month to maintain a presence.
He stopped the visits amid an upsurge in fears over security in the aftermath of the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. The embassy had been maintained by Sudanese staff until April.
The developments came after US presidential envoy Harry Johnston made a groundbreaking visit to Khartoum on March 4th for talks on re-staffing the embassy and ensuring proper security, along with broader issues such as Sudan's civil war.
US officials have said Washington is trying to re-engage the Islamist government in Khartoum, which it says is a state sponsor of terrorism and which it condemns for its actions in the 17-year civil war in the south - KHARTOUM (AFP)
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