* U.S. lifts sanctions on major Sudanese bank
* Sudan hopes Washington will remove all sanctions
KHARTOUM, Apr 29 The United States has lifted
economic sanctions on a major lender in Sudan, which has long
been under a trade embargo, a U.S. administration official said
In November, Washington renewed sanctions on the Sudanese
government but also held out prospect of reconsidering its tough
action if Khartoum made progress in resolving the north-south
dispute and improved the situation in the troubled Darfur
The Sudan-based Bank of Khartoum has been removed from the
U.S. blacklist because it is no longer controlled by the
government, the U.S. official told Reuters.
The move allows the bank limited business dealings with U.S.
institutions and to claim back blocked assets.
Sudanese officials have been hoping Washington will end all
economic and trade sanctions, first imposed in 1997, and remove
Khartoum from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Most Sudanese believe U.S. sanctions have affected ordinary
people more than the government as banks and companies are
isolated from international financial markets.
U.S. officials have said Washington could remove Sudan from
a list of state sponsors of terrorism by July if the north
accepts the south's independence referendum.
Sudan was placed on the U.S. sanctions list in 1993 for
harbouring "international terrorists". It has hosted prominent
militants including Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal.
South Sudan is due to split from the north on July 9 after
the referendum but northern and southern leaders have yet to
agree on a range of issues such as disputed border regions.
A senior U.S. administration official on Thursday slammed
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for threatening not to
recognise South Sudan as an independent state if it claimed the
oil-producing Abyei border region. [ID:nN28169563]
Abyei was due to vote in January on whether to join the
north or the south, but north-south disputes over who could vote
derailed the ballot and talks on the region's status have
(Additional reporting by Andrew Heavens in London)
(Reporting by Glenn Somerville in Washingon and Ulf Laessing in
Khartoum, editing by Tim Pearce)