Close

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Sudan seeks delisting after fines over bombings in East Africa

There is a standoff as the payout awards more to American families and less to Africans.

In Summary

• Sudan’s terrorist connection traces back to 1990s when terrorist Osama Bin Laden built a training camp in the country and established a business and finance network.

• The Guardian in 2001 said Osama “spent five years running half of Sudan's industries, and perhaps even a global terrorist network”.

Rescue workers and firemen remove bodies from rubble near the US Embassy in Nairobi after the twin bombings on August 7, 1998 /FILE
Rescue workers and firemen remove bodies from rubble near the US Embassy in Nairobi after the twin bombings on August 7, 1998 /FILE

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 25 flew from Israel to Sudan to meet Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

The agenda was a discussion on the possibility of Washington removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“We had a direct and transparent conversation regarding delisting Sudan,” Hamdok tweeted after the meeting.

 

Sudan has been urging the US to remove it from the list since her inclusion in August 1993. The country has also been under diplomatic sanctions by the UN since 1996.

Sudan’s terrorist connection traces back to the 1990s when Osama Bin Laden built a training camp in the country and established a business and finance network between 1991 and 1996.

The Guardian in 2001 said Osama “spent five years running half of Sudan's industries, and perhaps even a global terrorist network”.

His businesses revolved around construction and agriculture.

The publication further noted that by 1998, less than two years after he was expelled from Sudan, he had become America's most wanted man, thanks to the east Africa embassy bombings.

It seems reasonable to conclude that Osama’s years in Sudan were crucial for the development of his terrorist network. The designation stuck through the Omar al-Bashir regime.

It is these bombings that will now see Sudan pay $335 million compensation fund for harbouring Osama and what VOA News agency terms “providing the terrorists with Sudanese passports and allowing them to transport weapons and money across the border into Kenya.”

 

This was after a unanimous ruling by the US Supreme Court in May.

Nine years ago, the judge in the Federal District Court in Washington said Sudan should pay roughly $6 billion in compensation as well as the $4 billionin punitive damages, the New York Times reports.

In 2017, Sudan successfully challenged the ruling on the punitive damages arguing that they were awarded under a 2008 amendment to a law that could not be applied to something that happened 20 years earlier.

However, there is a standoff as the payout awards more to American families and less to Africans.

The meeting happened two weeks after Hamdok received a call from Pompeo and discussed progress in delisting Sudan from the sponsors of terrorism list.

The call followed another on June 24, when the two leaders reviewed progress towards addressing the policy and statutory requirements for consideration of the rescission of Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.

Days after assuming office in August last year, Hamdok said he had initiated talks with US officials about removing Sudan from Washington’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

Removing Sudan from the list would open the door to foreign investment and allow the country to receive a much-needed International Monetary Fund and World Bank bailout package, Hamdok said last year.

It, however, began a formal process to delist Sudan in January 2017, lifting trade and economic sanctions in October. But the process was put on hold when mass protests began in December 2018.

This now means Sudan will close the offices of foreign groups designated as terrorists by the US, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Sudan’s state-run news agency, Suna, has previously reported that Khartoum’s transitional Cabinet had affirmed its readiness to work with the US on the delisting.