Sudan: PM Hamdok - 'Sudan Must Be Removed From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism'

28 September 2020

New York / Khartoum / Abu Dhabi — Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok expressed Sudan's appreciation for the efforts of the Trump administration and the US Congress to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST).

In his video-address to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdallah Hamdok said that "Sudan has returned to the international community" and should therefore be removed from the SST list. "This must happen."

Removal from the SST list would help Sudan to reintegrate into the global economic community. It is necessary to solve many of the economic challenges the country is currently facing.

Last week, Hamdok announced that the amounts required to compensate the families of the victims of the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole* in Yemen in 2000, and the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Dar El Salaam in Tanzania and Nairobi in Kenya, are ready for payment. The US government demanded this before Sudan can be removed from the SST list.

During his video-address to the UN General Assembly the Sudanese prime minister called for debt relief and preferential treatment. He said that he greatly appreciates the efforts of Germany and other countries, who have established a Friends of Sudan group "to help Sudan to return to the international community after 30 years of isolation".

He called the (digital) donor conference in Berlin in June "a witness of that support". He said that "transitional government inherited a paralysed economy, and a weak health sector that has been neglected for decades, which has been further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic".

PM Hamdok thanked "all the friendly countries" that have given generous support to Sudan "because of the exceptional floods and torrential rains in the Nile valley, that led to the partial and complete collapse of tens of thousands of houses in Sudan".

Normalisation of relations with Israel

According to the independent Israeli online newspaper The Times of Israel Sudan is also negotiating with the United States an additional $3-4 billion in economic aid in exchange for normalising relations with Israel. The newspaper states that Sovereign Council chairperson Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, "Sudan's de-facto leader", had talks with US and Emirati officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about this last week. El Burhan left for Abu Dhabi, capital of UAE, on September 20.

The Times of Israel article states that El Burhan turned down an $800 million offer. Most of this money was to be paid by the US and UAE, with Israel paying some $10 million.

The article also mentions that PM Hamdok once again rejected linking removal from the SST list to ties with Israel at a conference in Khartoum on Saturday. Hamdok had already stressed this point to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Sudan last month.

* USS COLE: The October 12, 2000 attack killed 17 sailors and wounded more than three dozen others when two men in a small boat detonated explosives alongside the Navy guided-missile destroyer as it was refuelling in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, blasting a gaping hole in its hull. The vessel was repaired and later returned to full active duty.

In a ruling in March 2019, the US Supreme Court prevented US sailors injured in the deadly Al Qaeda bombing in 2000 of the US Navy destroyer USS Cole from collecting $314.7 million in damages from the government of Sudan for its alleged role in the attack.

A majority of eight judges to one overturned a lower court's ruling that had allowed the US servicemen to collect the damages from certain banks that held frozen Sudanese assets. However the new judgment rests more on a legal technicality than exonerating Sudan. In the ruling, the justices agreed with Sudan that the lawsuit had not been properly initiated in violation of US law, because the claims were delivered in 2010 to the Sudanese Embassy in Washington rather than to its Minister of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum.

15 of the injured sailors and three of their spouses sued Sudan's government in 2010 in Washington. At issue was whether mailing the lawsuit to Sudan's embassy violated the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a US law governing when foreign governments may be sued in American courts.

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