US to remove Sudan from list of states sponsoring terror

US president Donald Trump made the announcement after the Sudanese transitional government agreed to pay a compensation of USD 335 million to the victims of attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000

October 20, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Abdalla Hamlok, Sudan’s prime minister. Credit : Twitter

The president of the United States Donald Trump announced on Monday, October 19, that Sudan will be removed from its list of states sponsoring terrorism after the transitional government in Sudan agreed to pay USD 335 million as compensation to the victims of terror attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 and on the US ship USS Cole in 2000.

Talks over the compensation amount have been ongoing between Sudan and the US since 2018. However, the announcement of the deal before the presidential polls in the US is considered to be a part of Trump’s attempt to end Israeli isolation in the Middle East region.

The US has been pursuing Arab countries to ‘normalize’ their relation with Israel for the last couple of months. Last month it had mediated normalization deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state visited Sudan in August to persuade it to do the same. However, Sudan’s transitional government, led by prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, refused due to its apprehension of popular unrest.  

The compensation money is supposed to go to the families of the American victims killed in the attacks. The US had blamed Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir government for supporting and sheltering terrorists and had Sudan on the list of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993. There are three more countries in the US list — Syria, Iran and North Korea.  

Though the US president can issue the order for the removal of Sudan from the terror list, for the compensation money to reach to the victims’ families, the congress needs to pass a legislation.   

The US government alleged that those responsible for the attacks in which hundreds were killed including a large number of US citizens, were operating from Sudan. Bashir was deposed from power in a popular uprising in Sudan last year.  

The transitional Sudanese government hopes that its removal from the terror list will boost the country’s economic prospects.

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