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Wall Street Journal calls for removing Sudan from US terror list

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok meets with members of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Dec. 5, 2019. (USAID photo/Released)
August 11, 2020

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board on Monday joined calls for taking Sudan off the list of State Sponsors Of Terrorism (SST) and called on the White House to use its leverage on lawmakers opposed to the idea.

Last month, the U.S. Secretary of State said his administration is prepared to delist Sudan from the terrorism blacklist if the East African nation manages to compensate the victims of the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

“This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along often,” Pompeo stressed.

In its Monday editorial, the newspaper asserted that the delisting would consolidate the democratic transition in Sudan because it would end its diplomatic and economic isolation and allow it to seek relief from international financial institutions.

“This would boost [Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok]’s popularity and help his position, keeping hopes alive for a real democratic transition,” WSJ said.

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“Washington can re-impose sanctions if the military reverses reform” it added.

The daily pinned blame for stalling these efforts on Democratic lawmakers namely Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer and ranking member of the Senate foreign relations committee Bob Menedez.

The pair want Khartoum to increase compensation related to the 1998 twin bombings paid to non-American victims before it would approve legislation granting Sudan sovereign immunity from litigation related to terrorist attacks.

The stance has frustrated US victims who have vigorously lobbied Congress to approve the settlement.

ABC News reported last week that Menendez refused to speak with US victims despite repeated requests.

WSJ urged the Trump administration to press Congress to proceed and approve the settlement.

“The White House could overcome this opposition, but so far it hasn’t pushed hard”.

The Washington Post newspaper said that Pompeo has the authority to simply approve the compensation for U.S. citizens and drop Sudan from the terrorism list but he cannot negotiate compensation for foreign nationals employed by the embassies, even if they have since become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Sudan offered to pay $335 million in compensation, including $100 million for the foreign nationals. That works out to at least $3 million for the Americans, but just $400,000 for the noncitizens. Many of them have sued Sudan in U.S. courts, where they theoretically could be awarded more. But Sudan has no assets in the United States, and there is no guarantee they could collect particularly given Sudan precarious economic situation.

Trump administration has been under international pressure to remove Sudan from the terror list. European Union countries and Washington allies in the Middle East including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and UAE and others have backed the delisting.

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© 2020 the Sudan Tribune