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Pompeo says process to rescind Sudan’s terror designation has started

October 21, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that Washington has kicked off the process by which Sudan would get off the list of states that sponsor terrorism but declined to give a timeline.

U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo

“I don’t know the precise timing, but we are – we have begun the process to lift the designation of state sponsorship of terror. It’s the right thing to do. There’s been a lot of work done on this over the course of the first three years of the administration. We believe there is a firm legal basis for doing that, and we think that there will be enormous bipartisan consensus that that’s the right to do,” said in response to questioning by reporters at his weekly press conference.

Pompeo’s remarks followed his boss’s tweet yesterday in which he declared his intention to delist Sudan once money related to terror attack claims is deposited in an escrow bank account. Sudanese officials say that the money should arrive by next Monday at the latest.

The U.S. top diplomat also confirmed that the administration is trying to talk Khartoum into recognizing Israel but insisted that it is a sovereign decision for Sudan to make.

“We also are continuing to work to get every nation to recognize Israel, the rightful Jewish homeland, and to acknowledge their basic fundamental right to exist as a country. That certainly includes Sudan. And we are working diligently with them to make the case for why that’s in the Sudanese Government’s best interest to make that sovereign decision. We hope that they’ll do that. We hope that they’ll do that quickly. We hope every country will do that quickly.

It has been reported that the U.S. wanted Sudan to sign a peace deal with Israel in return for the delisting but this was met with resistance from Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok. Last week the US agreed that removing Sudan’s terrorism designation would take place before any steps towards normalization.

Pompeo also praised the MoU signed between General Electric and Sudan last week saying it is an indication of improvement in relations between the two countries.

“General Electric and Sudan civilian-led transitional government signed an MOU on October 15th of – for significant new projects for power and health care that’ll be an enormous benefit to the people of that country,” he said.

“It’s a welcome sign that the relationship between our two countries is advancing. They’re poised to take even greater strides once Sudan comes off the State Sponsor of Terror list as President Trump announced this week that we will do and we expect to happen” Pompeo added.

Sudanese leaders hailed the move by the U.S. towards delisting which would end a stigma that has been there since 1993 under then-President Bill Clinton as punishment for harbouring al Qaeda’s then-leader, Osama bin Laden and other terror operatives.

“Thank you so much, President Trump! We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much. This Tweet and that notification are the strongest support to Sudan’s transition to democracy and to the Sudanese people. As we’re about to get rid of the heaviest legacy of Sudan’s previous, defunct regime, I should reiterate that we are peace-loving people and have never supported terrorism” Hamdok said in a series of tweets from his account.

A tweet on behalf of the head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) chairman Abdel-Fatah al-Burhan was published by account stated: “I would like to express my deep appreciation and that of the Sudanese people to President Trump and to the U.S. Administration for the constructive step taken to remove Sudan off the Terror List in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan I would like to express my deep appreciation and that of the Sudanese people to President Trump and to the U.S. Administration for the constructive step taken to remove Sudan off the Terror List in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan”.

Trump is expected to formally notify the Congress in the coming days of his rescission decision after which the legislative body has 45 days to review before it takes effect.

(ST)