President Donald Trump on Monday said Sudan will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism if it follows through on its pledge to pay $330 million to American terror victims and their families, but some hurt in the attacks weren’t happy with the deal.
The compensation is for alleged terrorist attacks on US embassies in both Tanzania and Kenya in 2008. BBC reports that Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok confirmed that the funds have been transferred and is “awaiting confirmation of receipt” from the US. The country is still reeling from over 17 years of civil wars and has been unable to engage in international trade due to having been blacklisted by the US.
Trump tweeted: “GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. 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!”
Gen. Abdel-Farrah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, welcomed Trump’s announcement as a “constructive step.” He said in a tweet the removal would come “in recognition of the historic change that has taken place in Sudan.”
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising last year led the military to overthrow autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022.
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said getting off the list would help his government benefit from debt relief and access foreign loans and investments, which are seen as the country’s gateway to economic recovery. The country has more than $60 billion in foreign debt, he said.
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“It’s a long way,” he said. “It needs serious planning and hard work to achieve the maximum benefit of this opportunity.”
Once the compensation money has been deposited, Trump is to sign an order removing Sudan from the terrorism list, on which it has languished under heavy American sanctions for 27 years.
Twitter responses have been contrary to Hamdok’s optimism about the payment opening doors for Sudan. Many believe the payment should not have been made in the first place.