Washington will take Sudan off its list of state sponsors of terrorism as soon as the African state pays $335 million in compensation to victims of Al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies, President Donald Trump has said.
The US and Sudan reached an agreement on the payment, Trump announced in a Twitter post, adding that once the money is transferred he will remove it from the terrorist sponsors list. The president called it “a big step” for Sudan and said that American people would finally get long-deserved justice.
GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020
Just minutes after Trump made his announcement, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also took to Twitter and thanked the US leader.
“We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much,” he said, calling his nation’s presence on the notorious list “the heaviest legacy” of its previous “regime”.
Thank you so much, President Trump! We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much. https://t.co/GeScTPfb0k
— Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) October 19, 2020
Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to 1993 and is related to the nation’s former long-time leader, Omar al-Bashir, whom the US accused of supporting various militant groups, such as Hezbollah. The list inclusion also prevented Khartoum from accessing foreign financial aid and debt relief mechanisms.
Al-Bashir was toppled in a military coup last year following mass protests, and a transitional government led by Hamdok was put in charge. The new authorities arguably urgently needed foreign assistance to restore the nation’s economy following the political turmoil.
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The US-Sudanese negotiations were mostly focused on the funds Washington wanted Khartoum to place in escrow for the victims of Al-Qaeda attacks on the US diplomatic missions in Kenya and Tanzania back in 1998.
Another US demand, however, was rejected by the Sudanese government. In late September, mostly Arabic-speaking Mulsim-majority Sudan said it would not accept tying its removal from the terrorist sponsors list to normalizing relations with Israel. Hamdok maintained at the time that the two issues should be dealt with separately.
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