February 13, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The transitional government reached an agreement with the families of U.S. sailors killed in the al Qaeda bombing of the destroyer USS Cole, within the framework of the ongoing process to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors Of Terrorism (SST)
- The port side damage to the guided missile destroyer USS Cole is pictured after a bomb attack during a refueling operation in the port of Aden in this October 12, 2000 (Reuters file photo)
According to a written statement extended to Sudan tribune by the Justice Minister Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari on Wednesday, Khartoum will pay $30 million to the families of the 17 sailors killed during the attack on 12 October 2000.
Abdel Bari said the settlement agreement which was signed on 7 February has explicitly affirmed that the Sudanese government is not responsible for this incident or other incidents or acts of terrorism.
The government has entered into this agreement out of keenness to settle "the historical allegations of terrorism created by the former regime and only for the purpose of fulfilling the conditions set by the U.S. administration to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and the normalization of relations with the United States and the rest of the world," he stressed.
In 2014, a U.S. court said that Sudan’s aid to al Qaeda "led to the murders" of the 17 Americans in the bombing of the USS Cole and awarded the families $35 million.
However, in April 2019 the Supreme Court rejected a bid by families of the 17 sailors to collect some $35 million in damages from Sudan for its alleged role in the attack.
The settlement was concluded to definitively close the case and prevent future cases before the U.S. courts.
On 6 February, Abdel Bari met with Tibor Nagy U.S. Assistant Secretary for African affairs to the Sudanese government efforts to finalize the normalization process of bilateral relations.
On 24 February the Supreme Court will hear a case by the victims of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The judges will consider a rule by an appeals court that overturned about $4.3 billion in punitive damages of $10.2 billion initially awarded to the families.
An agreement over this matter will pave the way for the U.S. administration to remove Sudan from the terror blacklist.
Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale on 14 January urged Sudan’s foreign Minister Asma Abdallah to pay financial compensations to family members of the victims of terrorist attacks before to remove the impoverished country from the SST list.
"The Under Secretary underscored that compensation for the victims of terrorism remains a priority for the U.S. government," said the State Department after the meeting.