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Sudan seeks negotiated settlement with US victims of embassy bombing

Sudanese government officials (Al Jazeera English/Flickr)
February 27, 2020

Sudan seeks to reach a compromise with the victims of the al Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to fulfil the conditions posed by the US administration for the lift of sanctions.

Sudanese government on 13 February reached a deal with the families of U.S. sailors killed in the al Qaeda bombing of the destroyer USS Cole. According to the deal, Khartoum will pay them $30 million and in return, the case will be closed definitively.

Asked about his government approach with the victims of the embassies, Information Minister and Government Spokesperson Faisal Mohamed Saleh said they want to reach an agreement negotiated with the victims and their families to settle the case.

“The approach we used to negotiate a reasonable compensation for the families of the victims of the destroyer USS Cole would be the same approach that the representatives of the Government of Sudan and legal practitioners will work on in the case of the victims of the embassies bombings.,” Saleh said.

“There will be negotiations and we hope to reach a reasonable compensation that the government can pay,” he added in a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

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The minister reiterated that the government of Sudan and the Sudanese people are not responsible for these attacks. But, his government deals with them as a fait accompli issued by an American court and has become one of the conditions for lifting sanctions on Sudan.

He further said that the government is determined to close this file and address the remaining political points with the US administration to remove the name of Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST).

Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale on 14 January urged Sudan’s Foreign Minister Asma Abdallah to pay financial compensations to family members of the victims of terrorist attacks before to remove the impoverished country from the SST list.

“The Under Secretary underscored that compensation for the victims of terrorism remains a priority for the U.S. government,” said the State Department in a statement issued after the meeting.

The simultaneous bombings on 7 August 1998 at the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, resulted in the death of more than 200 people and thousands were injured.

On 24 February, the victims of the 1998 bombing challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court a rule by a court of appeal in favour of the Sudanese government that overturned about $4.3 billion in punitive damages of $10.2 billion initially awarded to the families.

The court of appeal said the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act bars punitive damages for events such as the bombings if they happened before a 2008 amendment to the law.

The judges of the Supreme Court have to see if this decision was right or to revoke it.

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© 2020 the Sudan Tribune