New Delhi: Sudan on Thursday sought India's help in lifting of economic sanctions imposed on it by the United States in the late 1990s.

Speaking at a press conference after meeting his Indian counterpart S M Krishna, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said, "We have sought help in removal of sanctions put on Sudan by America."

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the division of the oil-rich northeastern African country. India had welcomed the outcome of the January referendum in which southern Sudan voted for independence and said that it looks forward to work closely with both sides.

Karti said that he briefed Indian leadership about the new developments leading towards peace and creation of a South Sudan there.

In 1997, the US Congress had placed economic sanctions on Sudanese government, of which America had declared as a "sponsor of terrorism and a relentless oppressor of its minority Christian population."

On the anti-piracy efforts by his country, Karti said that his country was taking all possible actions against the menace.

He said, "India also intends to work with the people in that region and is willing to help the population there to provide them employment so that they don't take up piracy.”

The visiting Foreign Minister again promised support of Sudan for India's claim to permanent membership in the UN Security Council and also discussed the desired reforms in the international institutions.

India had said that it "looks forward to work closely with and for extending all possible assistance to both sides in Sudan, with whom the country has friendly and traditional ties."

The referendum was held as part of the 2005 comprehensive peace
agreement which ended the civil war between North and South Sudan.

Nearly 99 per cent of southern Sudanese chose to split from the North Sudan in January 9-15 vote, which was a key plank of the 2005 peace agreement that ended a devastating 22-year war between the black Christian-dominated south and the mainly Arab Muslim and Muslim north, in which about two million people died.

 (Agencies)