Sudan has paid $335m to compensate victims of past attacks against the United States as part of an agreement that removed the struggling country from Washington’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism” – also known as its “terror blacklist” – Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Khartoum’s transitional, civilian-backed government provided the funds for survivors and victims’ families from attacks including the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaeda, which was backed by Sudan’s then-leader, Omar al-Bashir.
Bashir was toppled in April 2019.
“We hope this aids them in finding some resolution for the terrible tragedies that occurred,” Blinken said in a statement, referring to the US families of victims. “With this challenging process behind us, US-Sudan relations can start a new chapter.”
We commend the efforts of Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government to resolve long-outstanding claims of victims of terrorism and look forward to starting a new chapter in our bilateral relationship.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 31, 2021
“We look forward to expanding our bilateral relationship and to continuing our support for the efforts of the civilian-led transitional government to deliver freedom, peace and justice to the Sudanese people,” he added.
Sudan agreed to the package last year as it desperately sought to free itself from the designation, which severely hindered investment in a country still grappling with unrest and tough economic conditions.
Former President Donald Trump agreed last year to remove Sudan but only after securing an agreement by Sudan to recognise Israel, a US ally.
The delisting was widely well-received in Washington, although some said it unfairly focused on US victims and did not provide the same compensation to Africans who made up the bulk of the dead in the 1998 bombings.
The compensation will also cover the 2000 attack by al-Qaeda on the USS Cole off Yemen’s coast and the killing of US development worker John Granville in Khartoum in 2008.
Some legislators have also pushed for Sudan to pay compensation to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has vowed to turn a page by ending conflicts and bringing more economic opportunities and put an early priority on reconciling with the US.
Last week the US said it had assisted Sudan with more than $1bn in credit to clear debt, making the country again eligible for support from the World Bank and IMF.