CAIRO – President Donald Trump on Monday said Sudan will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism if it follows through on its pledge to pay $335 million to American terror victims and their families, but some hurt in the attacks weren't happy with the deal.
The move would open the door for the African country to get international loans and aid needed to revive its battered economy and rescue the country’s transition to democracy. The announcement, just two weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election, also comes as the Trump administration works to get other Arab countries, such as Sudan, to join the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain's recent recognition of Israel.
Delisting Sudan from the state sponsors blacklist is a key incentive for the Sudanese government to normalize relations with Israel. Trump's announcement came after Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin traveled to Bahrain to cement the Gulf state’s recognition of the Jewish state.
Trump tweeted: “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!"
Sudan has agreed to pay compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks conducted by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network while bin Laden was living in Sudan.
Gen. Abdel-Farrah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, welcomed Trump’s announcement as a “constructive step.” He said in a tweet the removal would come “in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan.”
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising last year led the military to overthrow autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022.
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said getting off the list would help his government benefit from debt relief and access foreign loans and investments, which are seen as the country’s gateway to economic recovery. The country has more than $60 billion in foreign debt, he said.