US Secretary of State urges settlement deal with Sudan

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged for the Sovereign Immunities Act to be passed.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Sudan's PM Abdallah Hamdok in Khartoum on August 25 (SUNA).

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged for the Sovereign Immunities Act to be passed.

The law will pave the way for a settlement deal between the United States and Sudan, thus opening the door for Sudan to be lifted from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Pompeo confirmed in his letter that Sudan has the funds to settle pending cases and that it will be lifted from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list if three conditions are met: the signing of a bilateral claims agreement between the USA and Sudan; removing Sudan from the terrorism list; and the passing the sovereign immunities law.

He said it is very likely that the first two conditions will be fulfilled by the end of October. If that happens, “the only step between the claimants and the compensation they rightly deserve would be the enactment of legal peace legislation”.

To avoid the failure of the transitional period in Sudan, “which could easily lead to the emergence of another Islamist regime or the descent of the country into conflict,” Pompeo called for the inclusion of Sudanese legal peace legislation in the funding project.

The US Secretary of State also unveiled a plan to create a special account through which Sudan could deposit funds, which could be directly released to the to the USA families affected by Sudan’s support for terrorism.

"The United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that compensation is finally provided to victims of the 1998 al-Qaida backed terrorist attacks on the USA Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, including USA national victims who have long advocated for settlement of their claims," Pompeo said in his letter.

He pointed out that at the same time his country also has a unique and narrow window to support the civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.

"As Secretary of State, I am asking, for your help to partner with the Department to seize these opportunities by including the bipartisan Sudan legal peace legislation drafted by Senator Chris Coons in the upcoming Continuing Resolution.”

He insisted that the legislation is enacted no later than mid-October.

Pompeo stated in the letter that Sudan has the necessary funds to pay agreed compensation to the victims of the Kenya and Tanzania bombings, the 2000 attacks on the USS Cole, and the assassination of USAID employee John Granville.

Hamdok meeting

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok described his meeting on August 25 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Khartoum today as “a direct and transparent conversation”.

Secretary Pompeo is visiting Sudan as part of a tour of the Middle East which began with talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem the day before. Included in the agenda of his meeting with the Sudanese PM was “to discuss continued US support for the civilian-led transitional government and express support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship”.

Hamdok told Pompeo the transitional government is not authorised to decide on the normalisation of relations with Israel.

Visa restrictions

On August 13, Pompeo announced that “individuals residing both inside and outside Sudan who are believed to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged, directly or indirectly, in undermining Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government’s efforts to implement the July 17, 2019, Political Agreement and August 17, 2019, Constitutional Declaration” will be subject to “visa restrictions”.

According to the statement, the US believes that “Sudan’s Constitutional Declaration provides the best roadmap to begin the transition to a just, equitable, and democratic society. Unfortunately, former Bashir-era officials and others continue to undermine Sudan’s nascent democracy”.

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