'PARTNER IN FIGHTING TERROR'

It condemned the ban, saying it came despite Khartoum engaging in talks with Washington on fighting terrorism.

"These negotiations confirmed that Sudan plays a big role as a partner in fighting terrorism that endangers people of both countries and of the world," the foreign ministry said at the time.

Before leaving office, president Barack Obama eased decades-old US sanctions against Sudan, but kept Khartoum on the blacklist.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 and has been subject to a US trade embargo since 1997 over its alleged support for Islamist groups.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996.

Washington believes Khartoum's terror ties have ebbed, but has kept sanctions in place because of the scorched-earth tactics it has used against ethnic minority rebels in Darfur.

NO CHANGE IN POLICY

In its statement on Wednesday, the US embassy said there has been "no change to Sudan's inclusion on the United States' State Sponsor of Terrorism list".

"We have been quite clear with the government of Sudan on the steps that need to be taken for us to consider delisting, as well as what would be required to make progress in easing economic sanctions."

An end to fighting in Sudan's hotspots — Blue Nile and South Kordofan states as well as the Darfur region — had been set as a precondition for sanctions being lifted.

According to the United Nations, 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003.

South Africa came under fire for failing to arrest Bashir in 2015 when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg.

It insisted he had "head of state immunity" after letting him slip out of the country under shadowy circumstances.

Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute under which the ICC was founded, while Sudan and the United States have not ratified the statute of the Hague-based court.

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