The United States (US) has removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the US Embassy in Khartoum announced today.
“The Secretary of State has signed a notification stating rescission of Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation is effective as of today (December 14), to be published in the Federal Register,” the embassy said in a statement. It added that the 45-day congressional notification period has lapsed.
The US has listed Sudan on its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism since 1993 for hosting the late Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.
The designation meant the US could not give Sudan economic assistance, and effectively blocked financing or debt relief by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank
“This achievement comes with numerous opportunities for Sudan’s development,” tweeted Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, adding that his country “officially” rejoined the international community as a “peaceful nation supporting global stability” after nearly three-decade of isolation.
After 3 decades of global isolation on the #SSTL #Sudan officially rejoins the int'l community as a peaceful nation supporting global stability. This achievement comes with numerous opportunities for Sudan’s development & we thank everyone involved in making this happen.#NewEra pic.twitter.com/I8EQG04CK5
— Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) December 14, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said rescinding the designation “represents a fundamental change in our bilateral relationship toward greater collaboration and support for Sudan’s historic democratic transition.”
“This achievement was made possible by the efforts of Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government to chart a bold new course away from the legacy of the [former President Omar] Bashir regime and, in particular, to meet the statutory and policy criteria for rescission,” Pompeo said in a statement today.
“We commend the calls of the Sudanese people for freedom, peace, and justice, and we congratulate the members of the civilian-led transitional government for their courage in advancing the aspirations of the citizens they serve.”
Delisting Sudan is also a key incentive for the government in Khartoum to normalise relations with Israel.
Following the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Sudan was set to be the third Arab government to normalise with Israel in recent months, encouraged by the US. Such a move, believes the Trump administration, helps to sideline Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and marginalise the Palestinian issue.
As part of the deal, Sudan also agreed to pay the US $335 million in compensation for the victims of the 1998 terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 224 people were killed and thousands were injured. Although not directly involved, Sudan was hosting Osama Bin Laden at the time, and Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks.