July 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hamid Mumtaz, Monday denied Khartoum’s hiring of an American law firm to lobby for ensuring the permanent lift of economic sanctions on Sudan.
- Hamid Mumtaz (Photo NCP website)
Last June, Bloomberg disclosed that Sudanese government through its embassy in Washington hired a law firm, Squire Patton Boggs LLP, at a cost of $40,000 a month to lobby on its behalf to ensure that President Donald Trump permanently lifts sanctions against the east African country
The report was based on a letter, since seen by Sudan Tribune, included with a required filing with the Justice Department on June 1 under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
This contract was not the first one with a lobbying firm. In February 2017, Sudan hired Cooke Robotham LLC to help advise Sudan as it restructures its debt after the decision of former President Barak Obama to cancel the economic embargo last January. The contract was signed at a fixed fee of $300,000.
“We are a responsible country that does not work through (lobbying) companies, but through the official institutions to end the (economic) embargo imposed on Sudan,” said the junior minister in press statements following a meeting in the Sudanese parliament.
“We have worked with the official channels in the previous period, we will continue to work in the coming period,” he further emphasised.
Washington on 12 July decided to postpone its decision on the relief of sanction for additional three months, pointing to the need to consider human rights, religious freedom and Sudan’s commitment to sanctions on North Korea.
In response, President Omer al-Bashir decided to suspend a joint committee on the sanctions lift until 12 October 2017.
However, Mumtaz reiterated that Bashir’s decision does not mean to suspend contacts and communications with Washington.
“The suspension of the negotiating committee with Washington on lifting sanctions does not mean ending communication,” he said, adding that contacts will continue through diplomatic and political channels as well as popular efforts and efforts of civil society groups, friends and partners.
He further said he called on the foreign affairs committee at the parliament to contribute to repeal the economic embargo on Sudan.
“In my meeting with the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee, I answered the MPs’ questions with all transparency and clarity about the consequences of the postponement, its negative and positive aspects,” he said, pointing out that efforts will be coordinated among all relevant parties during the next stage.