In a move that completes a process begun by former President Barack Obama and which was opposed by human rights groups, President Donald Trump removed a U.S. trade embargo and other penalties that had effectively cut Sudan off from much of the global financial system.
The U.S. decision marked a major turnaround for the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who once played host to Osama bin Laden and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur.
However, Sudan will remain on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism - alongside Iran and Syria - which carries a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on U.S. aid, senior U.S. officials said.
Sudanese officials also remain subject to separate sanctions stemming from human rights abuses during the Darfur conflict, the officials told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The lifting of sanctions reflects a U.S. assessment that Sudan has made progress in meeting Washington's demands, including cooperation on counter-terrorism, working to resolve internal conflicts and allowing more humanitarian aid into Darfur and other rebellious border areas, the officials said.
The Trump administration also secured a commitment from Sudan that it would "not pursue arms deals" with North Korea, and Washington will apply "zero tolerance" in ensuring Khartoum's compliance, one of the officials said.
But they said Khartoum's assurances on North Korea were not a condition for lifting the sanctions, some of which had been in place for 20 years and have hobbled the Sudanese economy.
Sudan also has recently distanced itself diplomatically from Iran, another U.S. arch-foe.
Shortly before leaving office, Obama temporarily eased penalties against the east African nation. In July, the Trump administration postponed for three months a decision on whether to remove the sanctions completely, setting up an Oct. 12 deadline.
Human rights groups see the decision to remove sanctions as premature.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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