Secretary Pompeo: USS Cole settlement ‘an important step in progress in US-Sudan relations’
Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, met on Saturday with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on the side lines of the Munich Security Conference that is taking place in the Bavarian capital over three days. Hamdok also met with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah.
Hamdok is attending the 56th session of the security conference hosted by the German city of Munich during the period from 14-16 of February, with the participation of a number of leaders of states and heads of governments, to discuss threats to world peace.
The session of the conference will discuss the developments in Libya, the Arab Gulf region, East Asia, and the Middle East, while the focus will be on the urgent global challenges, especially the effects of climate change security policy.
At his meeting with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, they discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports. Hamdok and Pompeo affirmed the importance of working together to enhance bilateral relations.
Hamdok expressed hope that the progress made in the settlement of the USS Cole* question would help accelerate the process of removing the name of Sudan from the US list of countries sponsors of international terrorism.
USS Cole settlement
In a press statement on Thursday, Sudan’s Ministry of Justice confirmed that a settlement agreement was signed on February 7 with the families and victims of the bombing of the American destroyer USS Cole in 2000, in which litigation procedures against Sudan are still ongoing before the US courts.
“The government of Sudan wishes to indicate that the settlement agreement explicitly affirmed that the government is not responsible for this incident or any other terrorist incidents or acts, and that it entered into this settlement out of concern to settle the historical allegations of terrorism left by the former regime, and only for the purpose to meet the conditions set by the US administration to delete Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in order to normalise relations with the USA and the rest of the world.”
The official statement does not mention the amount involved; however it is reported that $70 million will be split among the plaintiffs.
The US Secretary of State confirmed that the settlement of the USS Cole issue was an important step in progress in the relations between Sudan and the USA.
Secretary Pompeo affirmed the US support of the important developments in the Sudanese political arena, expressing his hope that Sudan would surpass the current important period of its history and meet the aspirations of its people for a rational and sustainable democratic rule.
In a separate meeting on the side lines of the Munich conference on Saturday, Hamdok, met his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, and discussed with him the distinguished bilateral relations and ways to support the prospects of joint cooperation.
Hamdok extended thanks to Kuwait and its stances towards Sudan, “which have always expressed steadfast brotherhood and friendship between the two countries”.
The Kuwaiti Prime Minister praised the change that has taken place in Sudan, expressing Kuwait’s readiness to contribute to the stability of Sudan, and to supporting the transitional government to implement its program and, to achieve its priorities, of which achieving peace comes first.
The Kuwaiti Prime Minister emphasised his country’s keenness to activate the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and called for activating the work of the joint ministerial committee between the two countries.
* USS COLE: The October 12, 2000 attack killed 17 sailors and wounded more than three dozen others when two men in a small boat detonated explosives alongside the Navy guided-missile destroyer as it was refuelling in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, blasting a gaping hole in its hull. The vessel was repaired and later returned to full active duty.
In a ruling in March 2019, the US Supreme Court prevented US sailors injured in the deadly Al Qaeda bombing in 2000 of the US Navy destroyer USS Cole from collecting $314.7 million in damages from the government of Sudan for its alleged role in the attack.
A majority of eight judges to one overturned a lower court’s ruling that had allowed the US servicemen to collect the damages from certain banks that held frozen Sudanese assets. However the new judgment rests more on a legal technicality than exonerating Sudan. In the ruling, the justices agreed with Sudan that the lawsuit had not been properly initiated in violation of US law, because the claims were delivered in 2010 to the Sudanese Embassy in Washington rather than to its Minister of Foreign Affairs in Khartoum.
Fifteen of the injured sailors and three of their spouses sued Sudan’s government in 2010 in Washington. At issue was whether mailing the lawsuit to Sudan’s embassy violated the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a US law governing when foreign governments may be sued in American courts.
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