A delegation of senior US State Department officials is due in Khartoum 23 June to open a new US embassy building in the Sudanese capital, in what could signal a major step towards the normalization of relations between the two nations. US Assistant Secretary of State Johnie Carson and US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration will lead the senior delegation to Khartoum to witness the opening of US embassy building. Sudan has been on a US terrorism blacklist, after it became public at one time that wanted global terror mastermind, Osama Bin Laden, was hiding in Sudan. Currently, the US Embassy in Sudan is managed by a junior diplomat, at the level of Charge’dAffairs. The normalisation of ties between the two countries kicked off in 2008, with the US demanding Khartoum assists with the rapid deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur. The impending visit by the top US official in charge of African Affairs comes as the Sudanese government denied it was imposing a no-fly zone in Darfur. The US has long pegged the possibility of the normalisation of relations with Sudan on the full cooperation of the Sudanese government in ending the war in Darfur. The US State Department delegation will also visit Southern Sudan to explore the possibility of the US setting up a Consulate in the region. “The delegation would meet a number of senior government officials and inspect the establishment of a US consulate in Juba,” the report said.
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