Palestinian sources in Khartoum on Friday said there had been no Hamas office in the country, only a representative, Jamal Isa. He left the country last week because of US pressure, they said.

   

"The organisation felt its presence here was no longer tenable because of the focus on Sudan at the moment," he said.

 

Suspension

 

The US embassy in Khartoum said on Monday it was suspending operations because of a threat to American interests there. But Sudan's Minister of Justice, Ali Muhammad Usman Yasin, on Friday dismissed any possible threat.    

 

"The decision was political and has no relations with the internal situation in Sudan," he said in comments published by the state-owned Al-Anbaa newspaper.

 

"There are no extremists inside Sudan who could threaten security and safety of Americans and their interests," Yasin said.

 

US Secretary of State Colin Powell in October visited Kenya to mediate between southern rebels and the government.


During the visit, he said Sudan was yet to meet United States’ demands that it shut the Khartoum offices of the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  

 

Washington lists Hamas as a "terrorist" group and Sudan as a "state sponsor of terrorism", though it said it would look at removing Africa's largest country from the list if it signed a peace deal to end a two-decade civil war in the south.