KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan will continue to cooperate with the United States, including on intelligence-sharing, even though it has halted the work of a committee formed to negotiate relief from U.S. sanctions, Khartoum's foreign minister said on Thursday.
President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday froze the work of the committee, which was formed with the United States, after Washington postponed for three months a decision on whether to lift sanctions against Sudan. They were imposed partly over human rights concerns. [nL8N1K256J]
"We continue to cooperate with the United States at the bilateral level between our institutions, for example, between the intelligence services or the foreign ministries," Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama announced the lifting of the 20-year-old sanctions in January, a move that would suspend a trade embargo, unfreeze assets and remove financial punishments that have hampered the Sudanese economy.
But the implementation of the move was delayed for six months to allow Sudan more time to make more progress on five demands. They included resolving internal military conflicts in areas such as war-torn Darfur, cooperating on counter-terrorism and improving access for humanitarian aid.
Later on Thursday, the Arab League issued a statement expressing regrets for the delay and confirming its position on rejecting the sanctions.
"The league was expecting Washington to make its final decision to lift the sanctions ...and the spokesman reiterated the firm position which the league adopted of rejecting these sanctions," the statement said.
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; additional reporting by Ali Abdelaty in Cairo; editing by Larry King; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Mark Heinrich