First US Ambassador to Sudan after 25 years took office in Khartoum

The first United States Ambassador to Sudan for twenty-five years took office on Wednesday August 24 in this North-East African country, a new sign of relaxation in bilateral relations since Washington removed Khartoum from its list of states supporting terrorism.

Ties had deteriorated markedly under the reign of President Omar Al-Bashir, ousted after three decades, as Washington imposed draconian economic sanctions on Khartoum.

In 1993, the United States placed Sudan on the black list of states sponsoring terrorism, after Mr. Al-Bashir’s regime welcomed the founder of the Al-Qaida group, Osama Bin Laden, who had resided in the country from 1992 to 1996.

“Ambassador John Godfrey arrived in Khartoum today, the first U.S. Ambassador to Sudan in nearly twenty-five years”, the US Embassy said in a statement. Mr. Godfrey “will work to strengthen the relationship between the American and Sudanese peoples and support their aspirations for freedom, peace, justice and a transition to democracy”the statement added.

Mr Godfrey’s arrival comes as Sudan faces security unrest and a plummeting economy since the October 2021 coup by army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane. The coup upended a fragile transition put in place after Mr Al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.

Relations between Sudan and the United States have softened under the now ousted transitional government in Khartoum, led by former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who took office after Mr Al-Bashir left in following demonstrations against his regime.

In December 2019, following a visit by Mr. Hamdok to Washington, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would again appoint an ambassador to Khartoum. Then, in May 2020, Sudan appointed an ambassador to the United States before Washington removed Khartoum from its list of countries supporting terrorism a few months later.

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