Home | News    Tuesday 15 September 2020

U.S. bipartisan group of senators calls to pass deal removing Sudan from terror list

September 15, 2020 (WASHINGTON) - A bipartisan group of US Senators has requested to endorse a settlement agreement negotiated by the American administration and the Sudanese government to remove the east African country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism this month.

U.S. Senate (Reuters photo)The letter of 14 September, which was addressed to the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Senator and the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat Senator ,proposes to include the deal in the Continuing Resolution which should be adopted before the end of this month.

It was signed by Senators, Christopher A. Coons, Lindsey O. Graham, Chris Van Hollen, James E. Risch, Tim Kaine, Roy Blunt, Benjamin Cardin, John Boozman, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen, Michael Bennet.

"As Congress considers the Continuing Resolution content, we write to request that you work in a bipartisan fashion to negotiate and include legislation that would implement the settlement agreement reached by the U.S. Department of State and the Government of Sudan to resolve terrorism-related claims against Sudan for the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania," reads the letter seen by Sudan Tribune.

The Continuing Resolution is a Legislation enacted by Congress, before the beginning of the new fiscal year, to provide budget authority for Federal agencies to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted.

Attaching Sudan’s settlement agreement to this Continuing Resolution which will shut down after 30 September "is its best hope for success," said the Wall Street Journal on 13 September.

Senator Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voiced his opposition to deal and warned that he would not endorse it. Also, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is opposed to the deal.

Both they want Sudan to compensate the victims and survivors of the September 11 attacks. Previously, they called to review the amount of the compensation given to the foreign victims of the embassies bombings who are now U.S. citizens.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Democratic Senator Chris Coons has been trying to broker a compromise to pass in the Congress a deal Sudanese government negotiated with the victims of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salam.

"Coons’s plan wouldn’t add 9/11 victims to the embassy bombing settlement, but aides said it would help them in other ways, allowing them to sue Sudan under the same legislation they are using to sue Saudi Arabia for backing the attacks," said the newspaper.

Also, the deal will extend "past 2030 a federal program, the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, that provides compensation to them and other terrorism victims".

The signatories in their letter admitted that the settlement agreement is not perfect but at least "provides justice, accountability, and compensation to over 700 terror victims and family members".

They stressed that deal will advance U.S. national security interests by "bolstering Sudan’s fragile democratic transition" after the collapse of the "murderous regime" of Omer al-Bashir.

"This settlement agreement is a critical benchmark for Sudan’s removal from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, which will move the U.S.-Sudan bilateral relationship forward, open doors for further regional opportunities, and enable Sudan’s transitional government to access international financing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic".