Obama renews sanctions on Sudan

The US president says there are still conflicts in Sudan that threaten human rights and stability.

American President Barack Obama. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has renewed 15-year-old U.S. sanctions on Sudan, acknowledging that Khartoum has resolved disputes with South Sudan but warning that Darfur and other conflicts remain serious obstacles to normal ties, the State Department said on Friday.

"The ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur continue to threaten regional stability, and the human rights and humanitarian crises there - including the lack of humanitarian access - are very serious," the department said in a statement. Obama signed the executive order on Thursday night.

The order maintains several sets of U.S. sanctions that have been imposed on an annual basis since 1997. The sanctions restrict U.S. trade and investment with Sudan and block the assets of the Sudanese government and certain officials.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since clashes between government forces and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) broke out over a year ago.

Khartoum's resolution of several key issues with South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan last year under a peace deal that ended a decades-long war, helped advance peace between the two countries. But issues such as the status of the contested border region of Abyei, also posed a threat to security, the State Department said.

"Addressing these concerns is necessary for a peaceful Sudan and would enable the United States and Sudan to move towards a normalised relationship," its statement said.