Pompeo, Burhan discuss Sudan's removal from US terror list

Pompeo, Burhan discuss Sudan's removal from US terror list
The US still expects Sudan to pay out $500 million in compensation despite the UN's rights chief demanding the urgent withdrawal of sanctions.
2 min read
28 April, 2020
The sanctions hamper Sudan's access to international aid [Getty]
Sudan looks to be stuck on the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list for the time being after a phone call between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Transitional Council leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan confirmed Washington still expects a multi-million dollar compensation payouts to the victims of two extremist attacks.

Sudan would require a third party to advance its payment of over $500 million in compensation to the victims of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, The Sudan Tribune reported.

Khartoum's continued presence on the list and the sanctions that come with it inhibit Sudan's access to foreign investment and aid.

Previous discussions between Washington and the transitional government in Khartoum have prompted optimism around Sudan's removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a designation that dates back to the 1990s, when Bashir's regime hosted former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The US insists Sudan must admit its alleged complicity in two Al-Qaeda attacks by settling lawsuits with their victims in order to be removed from the list.

In February, the Sudanese government announced it had signed a deal with the families of the American servicemen killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

While Khartoum was able to pay out $70 million, the more complicated case of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania remains under discussion.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for the urgent withdrawal of unilateral sanctions against Khartoum imposed during the thirty-year rule of Omar al-Bashir.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted earlier this month that the coronavirus crisis would plunge Sudan further into recession as the country faces an already stark economic situation after years of corruption and economic mismanagement under Bashir, who was ousted in April last year.

Such a prolonged and severe recession could result in a humanitarian disaster, Bachelet said on Tuesday.

"The tipping point could be Covid-19," the UN rights chief said.

"The health system is simply not equipped to handle an outbreak on the scale we have seen elsewhere in the world. There is only one way to prevent a humanitarian disaster, and that is for the donors to step up and extend a helping hand to Sudan."  

Earlier this month, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok complained of his country's exclusion from access to World Bank funds for anti-coronavirus efforts in 25 developing countries.

"Access to lifesaving external finance remains restricted due to American sanctions on Sudan," the former UN economist said.

The US has granted $13.7 million to Sudan in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic to date.

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