On Monday, the US formally removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror after 27 years. The move came after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel.
“Today, Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is officially rescinded,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. The US embassy in Khartoum also announced the news in a Facebook post.
Getting off the terror list has been a priority of Sudan’s government since former President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by the military in 2019. Over the past year, Khartoum has been in close negotiations with the US over the list.
The agreement to normalize with Israel is believed to be a condition added by the Trump administration late in the talks, although Khartoum is downplaying the connection.
As part of the deal, Sudan agreed to pay $335 million in compensation to victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that were carried out by al-Qaeda. Some media outlets are reporting that the embassy bombings took place when Osama bin Laden was living in Sudan, but the former al-Qaeda leader was kicked out of the country in 1996.
At one time, then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir even offered to arrest and extradite bin Laden to Saudi Arabia as part of back-channel negotiations to get US terror-related sanctions lifted.
The US responded to the 1998 embassy bombings by launching cruise missiles at the Al Shifa 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 medicine, its destruction had a devastating impact on Sudan’s civilian population.