US and Su­dan reach ‘un­der­stand­ing’ over 1998 bomb­ings

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - JOYCE KARAM Wash­ing­ton

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.

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