Sudan deal over compensation for ‘USS Cole’ bomb
Sudan’s transitional government said it has signed a deal with the families of the victims of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, meeting a key condition for removing the country from Washington’s terrorism blacklist.
Sudan’s justice ministry said an agreement had been signed with the families of the victims of the attack, but it did not specify the amount of compensation agreed.
“As part of the transitional government’s effort to remove Sudan from the terrorism list, a deal has been signed on February 7 with
the families of the victims of the USS Cole incident,” the ministry said.
“The deal clearly specifies that the government of Sudan was not responsible for the incident or any such terrorist incident and it is doing this deal only to ... fulfil the condition put by the American administration to remove Sudan from its terrorism list.”
The US has set benchmarks Sudan has to meet to be removed from the list, which includes North Korea, Iran and Syria. Compensating the victims of the USS Cole attack was a condition imposed by Washington.
On October 12, 2000, a rubber boat loaded with explosives blew up as it rounded the bow of the guided-missile destroyer, which had pulled into Aden for refuelling.
Seventeen American sailors were killed as well as the two perpetrators of the attack claimed by Al Qaeda.
A US court ruled that Sudan, where the bombers were trained, was responsible for the attack – a claim Khartoum always denied.
In 2012, a Washington judge ordered Sudan to pay more than $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) to the victims’ families. Other judges went on to order certain banks to make Sudanese assets available to start paying the sum.
But in March last year the US Supreme Court overturned on procedural grounds a lower court’s ruling ordering Sudan to pay damages to the families of the victims. In 1993, Washington listed Sudan on its terrorism blacklist for its alleged support of extremist groups. Al Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan from 1992 to 1996.
Sudan’s new authorities have prioritised having the country removed from the blacklist, which officials in Khartoum say has stunted the country’s economic revival.
In October 2017, the US lifted its decades-old trade embargo on Sudan.
In another step restoring the country’s international standing, Khartoum said this week it had agreed to hand Al Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face trial on charges of war crimes and genocide during the fighting in the western Darfur region.