Sudan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that Khartoum and Washington have agreed to launch the second phase of strategic talks aimed at removing Sudan from the United States’ state sponsors of terrorism list.

The US lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan a year ago, but economists say foreign investors and banks are put off by Sudan’s continued designation by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria.

Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south of the country seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of its oil output.