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Sudan, USS Cole victims file joint demand to close the case definitively

April 5, 2020 (WASHINGTON) - Families of the victims of the USS Cole bombing and the Government of Sudan filed on Friday a joint stipulation with the U.S. District Court in Virginia to close the case on financial compensation.

The port side damage to the guided missile destroyer USS Cole is pictured after a bomb attack during a refueling operation in the port of Aden in this October 12, 2000 (Reuters file photo)The two parties reached a settlement agreement on 7 February providing that the case would be definitively closed and prevent future cases before the U.S. courts.

"All Plaintiffs and Defendant the Republic of the Sudan (...) hereby stipulate and agree to the dismissal of the above-styled actions with prejudice," reads the joint demand.

Last February, the government in Khartoum said the agreement intends to settle "the historical allegations of terrorism created by the former regime and only for the purpose of fulfilling the conditions set by the U.S. administration to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism".

On Sunday the finance ministry in Khartoum confirmed the payment of the compensation to the families of the victims without disclosing its amount.

"We want to confirm very clearly that the amount was paid from the country’s own resources and from the accounts of the Ministry of Finance," said the ministry in a statement dismissing allegations that the government used pensions funds to honour February deal.

17 sailors were killed and dozens wounded in an attack on the destroyer USS Cole carried out by two men while refuelling in the Yemeni port of Aden on October 12, 2000.

In 2014, a U.S. court said that Sudan’s aid to al Qaeda "led to the murders" of the 17 Americans in the bombing of the USS Cole and awarded the families $35 million.

The Sudanese government is still negotiating a similar agreement with the victims of the attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi as well as Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998.