US and Sudan reach ‘understanding’ over 1998 bombings
The United States and Sudan reached an understanding for an outline agreement to settle compensation claims over the 1998 Al Qaeda bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
“This final agreement will reflect Sudan’s agreement to pay. It will include compensation in connection with claims relating also to non-US nationals killed and injured in the embassy bombings,” said Tibor Nagy, US assistant secretary for African affairs.
His comments came days after the US Supreme Court said the African nation cannot avoid punitive damages in lawsuits accusing it of complicity in the attacks that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
The ruling reinstates about $826 million (Dh3.033 billion) of $4.3bn in punitive damages, said Christopher Curran, a lawyer representing Sudan.
Mr Nagy did not mention amounts of compensation but said those details were being worked out. On Tuesday, The
Wall Street Journal quoted a source in Congress saying “victims would receive more than $300 million altogether”.
The deal could pave the way for the US to remove Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, allowing it to tap into international assistance to alleviate the economic situation in the country. The US added Sudan to the list in 1993 and then imposed a trade embargo to punish Khartoum for ties to extremist organisations and Iran, and for its role in the genocide in Darfur..
US court rulings hold Sudan partially responsible for the 1998 bombing of the Kenyan embassy and also for a simultaneous attack on the US embassy in Tanzania. It is also liable for an Al Qaeda attack in 2000 on the USS Cole in Yemen. Until shortly before the attacks, Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden was living in Sudan under the protection of then leader Omar Al Bashir.
Since a mass uprising against the divisive dictator’s rule last year brought in a rapid change in the country, the new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, has opened talks with the US to restore ties, appoint ambassadors and resolve the compensation claims.