The US imposed sanctions on Sudan over the conflict
in Darfur [AFP]
A delegation of senior Sudanese officials is in the US for talks with their American counterparts.

The visit comes as a step toward normalising bilateral relations which have been strained over the last 18 years.

In 1993 the US put Sudan on a list of states that sponsor terrorism in protest against Osama bin Laden's residency in the country. In 1996 the US closed its embassy in Khartoum and a year later imposed sweeping economic sanctions.

The US later imposed further sanctions over the conflict in Darfur, punishing 30 major companies and individuals it deemed responsible for the war.

On the surface the sanctions and harsh political statements have deepened the gap between Washington and Khartoum but behind the scenes there is another story of US interests and strategies in Sudan.

Inside Story asks if the visit is the beginning of a new chapter in US/Sudanese relations.

Joining the show to discuss this are Janet McEligot, a former White House official, who lived and worked in Sudan for many years, Abdul Wahab al-Afandi, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Westminster, and Salah Khogali, a Sudanese political analyst.

Watch this episode of Inside Story here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This episode of Inside Story aired on 26 August 2007

Watch Inside Story at 17.30GMT on Al Jazeera English


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