[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/07/08/sudan.bashir.war.crimes/art.sudan.bashir.afp.gi.jpg" caption="The U.S. is reviewing its relations with Sudan and its president, Omar al-Bashir."]
CNN Senior Producer
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that there had been no decision whether to remove Sudan from a list of terrorism-sponsoring countries.
Sudan is hoping to improve diplomatic ties with the United States. The U.S. is now reviewing how best to deal with the government of Sudan and the crisis in Darfur where an estimated 300-thousand people have been killed and more than two million forced to fell their homes.
“We have made no decision to lift the listing on the terrorist list of Sudan,” Clinton said at the State Department Friday during a picture-taking session. “As you know there is a very intensive review going on within the Administration concerning our policy toward Sudan, but no decisions have been made.”
Clinton’s comments came one day after the Obama Administration’s special envoy to Sudan made headlines saying there is no evidence to keep Sudan on the terror-sponsor list. Envoy Scott Gration told a Senate hearing the terrorism designation was hindering his work, calling it “a political decision.” He said lifting sanctions against Sudan would allow heavy equipment and other assistance to flow more easily to people desperately in need.
The State Department denies there is any split on Sudan policy inside the Administration. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was grilled for 15 minutes at his midday briefing about whether Grafton’s comments signaled disagreement inside the U.S. government and whether the U.S. was shifting gears toward Sudan.
“Sudan is a state-sponsor of terrorism,” Crowley said. “it’s on our list. It remains on our list.”
“What's important here, in any kind of evaluation – and we're going through an evaluation right now - we take stock of what has happened, we take stock of what is happening and, most importantly, we look forward - there are a number of critical –critical issues inherent in the relationship between the United States and Sudan,” Crowley said.
The special envoy also has attracted attention Thursday by saying that the continuing violence in Darfar no longer qualifies as “genocide” a designation dating back to the Bush Administration.
State Department Spokesman Crowley said the U.S. remains deeply concerned about Darfur. “President (Obama) has said that genocide has taken place in Darfur,” Crowley said. “But as General Gration himself said yesterday, our focus is not on definitions, our focus is right now on the dire situation that we see with the people of Darfur.”
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