Details are sketchy, but the deal outlined in this exchange of Tweets seems clear.
Sudan will pay the USA £335 million to pay for its part in terrorism. In return President Trump moves to remove Sudan from the list of terrorist states.
But it does not end there. The reports below provide further information.
- Sudan effectively accepts responsibility for Islamic terrorism because it allowed Osama bin Laden to be based in Sudan between 1991 and 1996 when he controlled al-Qaida. More than 224 people died and 4,000 were injured in the double bombing of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 by al-Qaida, then run by bin Laden from Afghanistan, as well as an attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
- This will be followed by a congratulatory phone conference involving Trump, Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan, Sudan Prime Minister Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The deal could could pave the way for Sudan to recognize Israel.
- In return the US will announce an economic aid package that will include food and medicine, as well as $750 million in cash from Arab Gulf states. The US will also pledge to support Sudan debt relief from bilateral and multilateral creditors, facilitate private investment by US firms, as well as work to get Sudan off last January’s travel ban to the US which which prohibits Sudanese nationals from obtaining diversity visas.
Trump gives green light for removing Sudan’s terrorism designation
Source: Sudan Tribune
October 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – The U.S. President Donald Trump sent Sudanese cheering after announcing on Monday his intention to remove Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism after being stuck in this blacklist for almost three decades.US President Donald Trump (Kevin Lamarque | Reuters)
“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!” Trump tweeted at around 8 pm Khartoum time.
The tweet was part of a deal reached between the US and Sudan last week after the former presented a new offer to Khartoum after Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok kept resisting previous versions that would have required him to agree to normalizing ties with Israel before getting off the terror list.
Sudan Tribune was reliably told that international actors worked behind the scenes to nudge Hamdok into accepting the last-minute agreement.
According to US sources, the tweet was supposed to be published on Sunday but was delayed for timing reasons related to the presence of US officials in Manama where they witnessed agreements signed between Bahrain and Israel.
The next step would be for Sudan to deposit money related to a settlement with terror victims in an escrow account after which Trump will formally notify the Congress that he has decided to delist Sudan after the east African nation satisfied the statutory requirement per US law. The decision would be effective after 45 days unless Congress seeks to block it through a resolution by a veto-proof majority, a highly unlikely scenario.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Jim Risch called Trump’s decision a “major step to resolve important issues that stand in the way of Sudan normalizing relations with the international community. Sudan has made impressive democratic & economic reforms, & I look forward to working with @POTUS & others as Sudan moves forward”.
Following this notification, a congratulatory phone conference is scheduled to be conducted involving Trump, Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan, Sudan Prime Minister Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is also expected that the US would announce an economic aid package at some point that will include food & medicine as well as $750 million in cash from Arab Gulf states.
The US will also pledge to support Sudan debt relief from bilateral & multilateral creditors, facilitate private investment by US firms as well as work to get it off the travel ban list from last January which prohibited Sudanese nationals from obtaining diversity visas.
In line with the deal, Burhan and Hamdok immediately tweeted at Trump in response to his tweet.
“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. This Tweet and that notification are the strongest support to Sudan’s transition to democracy and to the Sudanese people. As we’re about to get rid of the heaviest legacy of Sudan’s previous, defunct regime, I should reiterate that we are peace-loving people and have never supported terrorism” Hamdok said in a series of tweets from his account.
A tweet on behalf of Burhan was published by the Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) account said: “I would like to express my deep appreciation and that of the Sudanese people to President Trump and to the US Administration for the constructive step taken to remove Sudan off the Terror List in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan I would like to express my deep appreciation and that of the Sudanese people to President Trump and to the US Administration for the constructive step taken to remove Sudan off the Terror List in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan”.
A contentious part of the agreement would be for the US administration to push Congress to pass the “legal peace” bill to shield Sudan from future lawsuits connected to the time it was on the list of states that sponsor terrorism. The $335 million in compensation will not be released to the victims until that happens.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee Robert Menendez, as well as the minority leader Chuck Schumer, oppose the bill on the grounds that it strips families of the 9/11 terror attack from the right to sue Sudan among other things.
Menendez wrote a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Monday in which he stated that while he is supportive of Sudan, he will not support the bill unless concerns related to 9/11 victims are addressed and also alluded to the disparities between compensation allocated to US citizens versus non-US citizens in the twin embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
He said there is a need to “ensure that 9/11 claims are not terminated or otherwise disadvantaged given that those claims were not addressed in the negotiations with Sudan, and; address the inferior treatment of naturalized US citizen victims of terrorism and related issues concerning third-country nationals who were injured or killed in terrorist attacks while working for the United States government”.
“Absent an acceptable resolution, passage of the legislation will be extremely difficult and likely impossible to achieve regardless of any commitments or escrow arrangement between the [State] Department and Sudan,” Menendez warned.
His Democratic colleague on the committee Senator Chris Coons who drafted the bill and has been the lead on this issue said on Twitter that the “Trump administration and Congress must redouble efforts to pass legal peace legislation for Sudan to deliver long-awaited justice and compensation to terror victims and families”.
Stuart Newberger, an attorney at Crowell & Moring who represents US victims and their families, told CNN that Congress must pass the legislation because the agreement between Washington and Khartoum “requires that Sudan be basically relieved of being sued in federal court as a sponsor of terror under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.”
“So that’s why Congress has to get involved to provide Sudan what’s called ’legal peace.’ The President can’t do that on his own; that’s something only Congress can do,” he said.
Edith Bartley, a spokesperson for some the families of Americans who were killed in the embassy bombings, welcomed the announcement by Trump.
“On behalf of the families killed in the 1998 bombing of the Nairobi embassy, I wish to express our appreciation for the long hard work of the State Department, and the new civilian regime in Sudan, to secure Sudan’s payment of compensation to our diplomatic families for that act of terror,” said Bartley, who herself lost her father and brother in the attack in Nairobi.
“The escrow fund established by that agreement, once it is released to the victims, will fulfil a longstanding commitment first made by President Bush, honoured by President Obama, and now affirmed by President Trump, to condition normalization on compensating survivors and the families of those who were lost to acts of terror. In so doing, we vindicate the sacrifice of our diplomats abroad,” she said.
In her statement, Bartley also called for Congress “to immediately pass the legislation that is needed to implement the agreement and begin the payment process. Congress cannot let this agreement fall victim to legislative gridlock and bickering.”
However one of the victims by the name of Doreen Oport, who worked at the US embassy in Nairobi and was injured in the attack, said in a statement carried by CNN, “We want a resolution but cannot accept one that betrays so many US embassy victims and the most basic principles of American justice”.
In a statement to the nation, late Monday Hamdok said the delisting would allow for better management of the economy and open the door for debt relief as well as rebuilding critical sectors of the economy.
Trump to remove Sudan from US terror blacklist
The US president has said he is willing to remove Sudan from a terror blacklist once it pays an agreed compensation package to American victims and their relatives.
Sudan will be removed from a US blacklist of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism, US President Donald Trump said on Monday.
He said that the African country’s year-old transitional government had agreed to pay a $335 million (€285 million) package to American victims of attacks and their relatives.
“At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan,” Trump posted on Twitter.
“Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list,” he added.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok replied to Trump, thanking him for the move.
“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 wrote.
Washington blacklisted Sudan in 1993, accusing the regime led by Omar al-Bashir of supporting terrorist organisations.
Bashir, who was ousted by protests last year, had links with Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin-Laden.
The US said Sudan provided a safe haven for its operatives under his watch.
The package would compensate victims and families from a series of terrorist attacks, including the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, as well as an attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
Sources quoted by the Reuters news agency said that the payment could pave the way for Sudan to recognize Israel.
The Trump administration has brokered similar peace deals between the Israeli government and Arab nations in recent months.
Both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have agreed to normalize ties with their former foe.
Asked whether an Israel-Sudan breakthrough was imminent, Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz told Israel’s Army Radio: “There are contacts, accompanied by the Americans, and there is complexity. I hope that the intensive contacts will yield positive fruit.”
Earlier this month, Sudan’s government signed its own peace deal with rebels aimed at ending decades of war in which hundreds of thousands died.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 UPDATED A MONTH AGO
Sudan discusses Arab-Israeli peace and terrorism list with U.S.: statement
By Reuters Staff
3 MIN READ
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan and the United States have discussed how Khartoum could advance Arab-Israeli peace, authorities said on Wednesday, adding the talks also covered the removal of the former hardline foe of Israel from a U.S. list of terrorism sponsors.
Meeting in the United Arab Emirates, a Sudanese delegation and U.S. officials held talks on how peace could stabilise the region and secure a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, the ruling sovereign council said.
The UAE, a leading regional partner of the United States, and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel this month in deals brokered by Washington, the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to break a longstanding taboo.
In August, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue of Sudan establishing ties with Israel during a visit. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told him at the time he had no mandate to do so.
A Sudanese team led by General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, head of the council, flew to the UAE on Sunday to hold talks with U.S. officials on several issues including the removal of Sudan from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Sudanese officials held “serious and frank talks” on the future of Arab-Israeli peace, which would lead to “stability in the region and preserve the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state according to the vision of a two-state solution”, a council statement said after the return of the delegation.
The two sides also discussed “the role that Sudan is expected to play in achieving this peace,” it said, without giving any details.
The council, made up of the military and civilians, has been in charge of Sudan since the toppling of autocrat Omar al-Bashir last year.
Ties with Israel are a sensitive issue in Sudan, which was among the hardline Arab foes of Israel under Bashir.
In February, Burhan met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda, a meeting condemned by Sudanese protesters. He afterwards cast doubt on any rapid normalisation of relations, though Israeli aircraft soon began overflying Sudan.
The talks also tackled lifting Sudan from the terrorism list, which hinders its ability to access foreign loans to tackle an economic crisis, the council said, without giving details.