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U.S. prepares to remove Sudan from countries supporting terrorism

Washington—The Trump administration is preparing to remove Sudan from the list of countries that support terrorism, and seek another foreign policy victory before the election, but will conclude to the U.S. court that it suffered terrorism with the support of Khartoum The compensation for the victims of the attack is at risk.

Since 1993, Sudan has been on the terrorist list. As a result, Sudan has been restricted from receiving global assistance that will help stabilize its new government and incite democracy. According to four people with direct knowledge of the plan from the State Council, it is expected to be delisted in the next few weeks.

This will also clean up Sudan’s diplomatic relations with Israel in a manner similar to the Trump administration’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain this month to help the Jewish state consolidate cement relations, and the way President Trump celebrated the White House at the White House last week. the way. Guarantee that other countries will join them soon.

Although Sudan is still on the US terrorist list, a comprehensive diplomatic agreement between Israel and Sudan will be difficult if not impossible.

But the government intends to move forward without congressional legislation, which will ensure immediate compensation for the victims of the bombings of the U.S. embassy in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the destroyer Cole and his family in 2000, from which they expect to receive $335 million Compensation. Sudan sheltered the militants who carried out the attack.

Riz Khaliq, a former U.S. Department of Commerce official, said: “This basically allows Sudan to get off the list with impunity,” he was injured when he attacked the U.S. Embassy in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Khalik said on Wednesday: “Sudan has no reason to make the victims complete in any way.” “They have got what they want, and frankly speaking, the victims affected by the terrorists have no money.”

He added: “It’s really painful and painful.”

TThe new plan will deposit the money in an escrow account, and once Congress exempts Sudan from future legal requirements for future terrorist attacks, the money can be distributed to victims. But Congress refused to include legal protections in the spending bill agreed this week, but it will almost certainly be delayed until after the November 3 election.

Officials warned that the final decision to remove Sudan from the terrorist list must be approved by the White House.

But President Trump is not expected to wait for Congress to take action.

Six weeks before the election, Mr. Trump used the ever-increasing ties between rival countries in the Middle East and North Africa as a model of his government’s diplomatic capabilities. The president said on September 15 that five other countries are considering establishing official relations with Israel, officials said, including Sudan.

Trump said at the White House last week, “We will sign contracts with other countries.” Not long ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan’s deputy ambassador signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in front of the audience. “These are very strong agreements. These are very strong. This is really peace. This is peace.”

Considering the turbulent history between Israel and Sudan, the consolidation diplomacy between Israel and Sudan will be their coup.

After the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli War in 1967, it was in Khartoum that the Arab League announced its “three nos” resolution, which opposed peace, negotiated and recognized Israel. This was widely recognized in Arab countries until the historic visit of Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat to Jerusalem in 1977. Before reaching an agreement last week, Egypt and Jordan were the only two Arab countries that had established formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Sudanese officials concluded in 1993 that after the Sudanese leader’s then government, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, provided asylum and other support to Hezbollah and Palestinian organizations, Sudan was included in the list of countries that financed terrorism by the United States. Only three other countries on the State Department’s list-Iran, North Korea, and Syria-have restricted U.S. aid, effectively limiting aid from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

However, after Sudan and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 2016, the United States began to relax sanctions on Khartoum to reward its cooperation in counter-terrorism missions and end military attacks on Sudanese citizens. Last year, the resignation of Mr. Bashir and international efforts to support democracy in the new transitional government contributed to this relaxation.

Israel has established its own nascent bond with the country. In February, Mr. Netanyahu met with Lieutenant General Abdul Fatah Burhan, Sudan’s de facto leader, and held talks in Uganda, reportedly arranged by the United Arab Emirates. A few days later, Sudan began to allow Israeli civilian aircraft to fly in its airspace.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Mike Pompeo) has the right to remove Sudan from the list of terrorism without the approval of Congress. Pompeo met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in Khartoum last month, and he called the delisting of Sudan a “critical bilateral priority for both countries.”

The State Department’s summary of the meeting stated that the two persons also “discussed the positive development of relations between Sudan and Israel.” They spoke again on September 12.

The Sudanese lawyer in Washington, Christopher Curran (Christopher Curran) said that the transitional government wants to “completely rejoin the respected national community.” He said in a statement on Wednesday that this will happen when Sudan conducts international trade, settles past debts and is “about to be designated as a national sponsor of terrorism.”

Until recently, Mr. Pompeo stated that he would wait for Sudan to be removed from the terrorist list until payment for the bomber was secured.

However, as the resolution between the United States and Sudan continues in Congress, officials have expressed that Mr. Pompeo is willing to move forward.

Sudan insists that it will keep the $335 million in compensation for victims in the hands of the trustee until it obtains a legal immunity from Congress to protect itself from the new financial requirements of previous terrorist attacks. But a representative of the Sudanese government said that given Sudan’s poverty, rapid economic weakness and US$60 billion in international debt, it is unlikely that Sudan will hold this money indefinitely.

The fragility of the year-long process to support the stability of Sudan and compensate the victims of terrorism shocked the bipartisan senator organizations. They pointed out in a letter dated September 14 that the United States provided the United States with “rare Opportunity” to help the country “get rid of the kind that has supported terrorism and stifled freedom for decades.”

But Congress is divided on the government’s approach.

Some lawmakers opposed the unequal distribution of funds to victims of the East African Embassy bombing, which would allow American citizens to receive compensation far more than Kenyan and Tanzanian employees who were foreign citizens at the time of the attack (almost all black) .

In addition, because Sudan is a long-term safe haven for Al Qaeda, the families of the victims on September 11, 2001 are seeking compensation. With the support of legislators representing the region, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democratic Party and minority leaders, these families have widely opposed immunity legislation before resolving their legal cases against Sudan.

Mr. Schumer’s spokesman, Alex Nguyen, said: “Congress should not deny the behavior of the victim’s family in court on September 11.”

Congress officials said that it is possible to reach a final agreement, including peace of mind for some families of victims on September 11, so that they are eligible to receive an additional $1 billion in compensation from another Justice Department victim fund.

But it is difficult to approve this before the election, and some of these families questioned why the United States was so eager to remove Sudan from the terrorist list and abandon its means of implementing payments.

“In any government, Congress or international community, no foreign government free pass to support and shelter terrorists should be granted,” said Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband was killed in the September 11 attack. In a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”

There are also people in Sudan who are opposed to alliances with Israel, especially among the liberal-minded officials in the transitional government, who have defended the Palestinians’ demands of a sovereign state for many years.

At a meeting in Khartoum last month, Mr. Hamdok told Mr. Pompeo that Sudan’s transitional government has no right to normalize relations with Israel, but instead focuses on stabilizing the country before democratic elections in 2022. .

However, according to people familiar with Washington and Khartoum, senior Sudanese officials have recently grudgingly admitted that agreeing to normalize relations with Israel may be the price of getting rid of the US terrorism list.

Steven Cook said: “People have to wonder whether the Sudanese are really interested in relations with Israel, because the opposition is likely to instigate the opposition in Khartoum, and it is also a problem for the withdrawal of terrorist state sponsors. I am more interested in the benefits that come.” is a Middle East and North Africa expert of the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Cook said: “This is obviously the driving force for them, and obviously they know the best and easiest way to get through Tel Aviv.”

Declan Walsh contributed the report from Cairo.

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