President Donald Trump has said Sudan will be removed from the US’ list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In a tweet on Monday night, the president however said it was conditional on the North African country fulfilling a pledge to pay 335 million Dollars to American victims of terrorism and their families.
“New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to US terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan,” Mr. Trump remarked.
Sudan’s former dictator Omar al-Bashir, accused of providing a haven for terrorists including the slain Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, was overthrown in 2019 following months of mass protests across the country.
Mr. Trump’s announcement, just two weeks ahead of the US presidential election, comes as his administration works to get other Muslim-majority countries, such as Sudan, to join the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain’s recent recognition of Israel.
The US move also opens the door for Sudan to receive international loans and aid needed to revive its fledgling economy and facilitate its transition to democracy.
Only minutes after the US president’s statement, the head of the new transitional government in Khartoum, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, tweeted: “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.”
“We are about to get rid of the heaviest legacy of Sudan’s previous, defunct regime,” Mr. Hamdok said in another tweet.
Khartoum’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates to Mr. al-Bashir’s thirty-year rule, and makes it difficult for its transitional Government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing.
Sudan’s existing foreign debt is worth more than half its GDP and a large portion of the debt is owed to the US.
Once the 335 million Dollars has been deposited, Mr. Trump will sign an executive order removing Khartoum from the terrorism list, on which it has languished under heavy US sanctions for twenty-seven years.
With Sudan’s removal, only Iran, North Korea and Syria will remain on the list.