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US poised to lift longstanding Sudan sanctions

WASHINGTON — The United States is poised to permanently lift sanctions on Sudan, US officials said on Thursday, recognizing the long-estranged country’s progress on human rights and counterterrorism after decades of war and abuses.

The Trump administration will complete a process that President Barack Obama started in January, when he temporarily lifted the penalties. An announcement is expected as early as Friday.

In justifying the decision, the administration will assert that the African nation has continued making progress on several areas of concern, officials said. The United States has been calling on Sudan to expand humanitarian access, improve human rights, cooperate on counterterrorism, and reinforce a cease-fire in conflict areas.

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The move follows a lengthy lobbying campaign by Israel and Saudi Arabia to bring Sudan further into the global fold. Both of those close US allies have sought to encourage Sudan’s recent moves away from their mutual rival: Iran.

The sanctions decision permanently ends a US economic embargo on Sudan, removing longstanding restrictions on trade and financial transactions. Business with oil and gas industries in Sudan, such as pipelines and oil field services, will be permitted.