KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan called President Donald Trump’s decision to ban entry of its citizens “very unfortunate” in light of “historic steps” taken just weeks earlier to lift sanctions for cooperation on combating terrorism, its foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Trump on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries including Sudan, saying the moves would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
That move comes only two weeks after the departing Obama administration said it would lift a 20-year-old trade embargo against Sudan, unfreeze assets and remove financial sanctions as a response to Khartoum’s cooperation in fighting Islamic State and other groups.
Sudan’s foreign ministry said previously that the sanctions decision had come with Trump’s approval.
“It is particularly unfortunate that this decision coincides with the two countries’ historic move to lift economic and trade sanctions ... and just as economic and financial institutions as well as businessmen in the country were set to continue developing their investment projects...” a foreign ministry statement said.
Sudan’s economic problems have been building since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of oil output, the main source of foreign currency and government income.
The sanctions relief, which will be delayed by 180 days to assess progress on human rights and ongoing conflicts, is expected to impact businesses that deal with agriculture, import-export services, transportation, technology and medical equipment, and oil.
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Eric Knecht, editing by David Evans