US Embassy says Sudan no longer on list of terror sponsors

CAIRO (AP) — The United States (US) Embassy in Khartoum said yesterday that US President Donald Trump’s administration has removed Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that could help the African country get international loans to revive its battered economy and end its pariah status.

The US Embassy in Khartoum said in a Facebook post that the removal of Sudan was effective as of yesterday, and that a notification to that effect, signed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would be published in the Federal Register. It said the 45-day congressional notification period has lapsed.

The designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted militants. Sudan was also believed to have served as a pipeline for weapons supplied to militants in the Gaza Strip.

Head of the ruling sovereign council Sudanese General Abdel-Fattah Burhan hailed the move as “historic decision” by Trump’s administration. He tweeted yesterday that delisting Sudan would “contribute to supporting the democratic transition”.

In October, Trump announced that he would remove Sudan from the list if it follows through on its pledge to pay USD335 million to American terror victims and their families. Sudan has agreed to pay compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks carried out by al-Qaeda while bin Laden was living in Sudan.

Since Trump’s announcement, the Sudanese government also inked an agreement with the US that could effectively stop any future compensation claims being filed against the African country in US courts.

That deal restores in US courts what is known as sovereign immunity to the Sudanese government. It would however enter into force after US Congress passes legislation needed to implement the agreement. Khartoum has said the USD335 million in compensation money would be held in an escrow account until then.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands with the head of the ruling sovereign council Sudanese General Abdel-Fattah Burhan in Khartoum, Sudan on August 25. PHOTO: AP