On Monday, President Trump announced on Twitter that the US will remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terror after Khartoum pays out $335 million to US terror victims and families.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok thanked President Trump on Twitter. “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,” he wrote.
The US designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terror in 1993. The designation blacklists the country from international financial institutions. Getting off the list has been a priority of the government since former President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by the military in 2019.
The removal of Sudan from the terror list is believed to be a prelude to the African country normalizing relations with Israel, following the UAE and Bahrain. Two unnamed US officials told The New York Times that Sudan could normalize with Israel within days after the details of Sudan’s removal from the terror list are worked out. Congress needs to approve the removal after being formally notified by the president.
The $335 million is expected to be paid out to families of victims of the 1998 al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The US responded to the embassy bombing by launching cruise missiles at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Khartoum.
The US claimed at the time that the Al Shifa medicine factory was being used to make nerve gas for al-Qaeda, but no evidence ever corroborated the claim. The factory was destroyed in the strike. Since Al Shifa produced half of the country’s pharmaceuticals, its destruction caused a devastating impact on Sudan’s civilian population.