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Pompeo: Accord underway with Sudan on compensation for 1998 bombings

June 25 - 2020 WASHINGTON DC
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on at the Munich Security Conference in February (RD)
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on at the Munich Security Conference in February (RD)

According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an agreement with the Sudanese government on the victims of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, will be reached in the coming weeks.

We are working on a positive solution for Sudan’s new leadership and the Sudanese people, Pompeo told the US-backed Al Hurra news station in an interview on Wednesday.

After talking with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok earlier that day the US official expressed hope that the two parties will achieve a “satisfactory results” within weeks.

He could not give more details. “My team on the ground is working closely with the Sudanese leadership to try to reach a good result, and I hope that this will be achieved in the coming weeks,” he said.

The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported today that Minister of Foreign Affairs Asmaa Abdallah earlier announced that Khartoum is close to an agreement with Washington regarding the compensation for the victims of the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that took place in the summer of 1998.

In February, the transitional government of Sudan paid out a settlement of $70 million to the families of the victims of the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen in an effort to persuade the USA to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, considered essential to the country’s economic recovery.

US Country Reports on Terrorism 2019: Sudan

The Secretary of State designated Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1993 for supporting international terrorist groups, including the Abu Nidal Organisation, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah. 

In September 2019, Sudan officially formed a civilian-led transitional government after 30 years under the regime of former President Omar Al Bashir who was ousted in April that year. The new government asserted that it no longer supports the aforementioned or any other terrorist organisation, the US Department of State says in its 2019 report on Sudan.   

Sudan has taken steps to work with the USA on counterterrorism. Throughout 2019, despite political turmoil that led to the ouster of the former president and the formation in September of the new civilian-led government, Khartoum “continued to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan,” the report reads.

“Despite the absence of high-profile terrorist attacks, ISIS facilitation networks appear to be active within Sudan. The newly appointed Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments under the CLTG denied the existence of an official ISIS entity in Sudan but acknowledged that there were ‘extremists’ linked to ISIS in the country. 

The media reported in November 2019 that the new Sudanese government was prepared to return between 16 and 20 terrorists from ISIS and other groups to their countries of origin. 

Throughout 2019, the new civilian-led government continued to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to US interests and personnel in Sudan – US Country Reports on Terrorism 2019

“As part of the government’s counterterrorism strategy, Sudanese forces patrol the Sudanese‑Libyan border as well as the Sudanese-Chadian border to interdict the flow of suspected terrorists transiting through the region, and to prevent arms smuggling and other illicit activities. Sudan’s expansive size, and the government’s outdated technology and limited visa restrictions, presented challenges for border security.”

The new authorities in Khartoum has asked for assistance from the US government as well as the international community to upgrade its technical and physical capabilities to secure its borders.

Regarding Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), Sudan remains a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. 

“The Financial Action Task Force and MENAFATF have both determined that Sudan’s AML/CFT regime adequately addresses AML/CFT. Additionally, Sudan’s Financial Information Unit is a member of the Egmont Group and works regularly with other members of the group on AML/CFT issues,” the report states.

The new civilian-led Sudanese government “continues to develop a national strategy for countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment. Sudan’s existing strategy combines government and civil society resources and uses a social, economic, and religious approach toward strengthening Sudan’s population against internal or external ‘extremist’ influences,” the US country report concludes.

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