Sudan signs deal with US to reinstate sovereign immunity

Khartoum, Oct 31 (efe-epa).- Sudan and the United States have signed an agreement that restores the northeast African country’s sovereign immunity, the Sudanese government announced on Saturday.

The deal also settles lawsuits in US courts against Sudan that were brought by the victims of terror attacks, including the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, with Sudan agreeing to pay out $335 million.

Khartoum and Washington signed an “historic agreement restoring Sudan’s sovereign immunity”, the Sudanese Ministry of Justice said in a statement after the US announced it would remove the African country from the blacklist of sponsors of terrorism.

The deal “relieves Sudan of the burden of the past (…) and closes the door to any future attempts to sue Sudan in court in terrorism-related cases retrospectively,” the statement added.

Sudan deposited $335 million in compensation in a “joint guarantee” account for the families of victims of the attacks on the US embassies once the US had completed formalities guaranteeing Sudan’s immunity.

The lawsuits against Sudan relating to the terror attacks have thus been settled, and the renewed immunity rules out any future legal action over the embassy attacks.

On 23 September, US President Donald Trump announced the signing of an executive order to remove Sudan from the blacklist that had featured the African country since 1993 due to its support for terrorism under ousted president Omar al-Bashir. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the US and who was killed by US forces in Pakistan in 2011, lived in Sudan for five years.

Trump then announced that Sudan and Israel had agreed to normalize bilateral relations after pressure by the US for months. The Sudanese government said that normalising ties with Israel – which Sudan had refused to recognise – was a condition of being removed from the US blacklist.

The US courts have held Sudan responsible for being an accessory to the al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in 2000 in the waters of the Gulf of Aden.

The African country had been desperate to be removed from the blacklist to normalize its relations with multilateral credit organizations amid a severe, protracted economic crisis. EFE


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