In a final step in a historic deal removing Khartoum from Washington’s blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, it’s expected that the US lawmakers were support legislation allowing Sudan legal immunity for past strikes.
Democratic Senators Bob Menedez and Chuck Schumer declared in a statement that the text would restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity except litigation already pending in US federal courts related to the September 11, 2001 assaults.
Indeed, the legislation is part of the general law to fund the government for the next year, including a new assistance package to help millions of Americans and businesses suffered from the pandemic.
It should be noted that the US removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism blacklist a week ago, which means less than two months after that the Arab nation promised to normalize relations with Israel.
This step would open the way for help, debt reduction, and investment to a country passing through a hard political transition and facing a difficult economic crisis intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whereas, Sudan accepted to pay $335 million to compensate survivors and victims’ families from the attacks launched by al-Qaeda in 1998 on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and a 2000 assault by the extremist group on the USS Cole off Yemen’s coast. In fact, those assaults were occurred after that dictator, Omar al-Bashir, allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden sanctuary in Sudan. Otherwise, the legislation’s adoption is an important and final step to unblocking the money, which Sudan has already put in an escrow account.
Schumer and Menendez, who represent the states of New York and neighboring New Jersey, respectively, wanted to guarantee language that would not block the right of 9/11 victims or their families from prosecuting Sudan for its past role as a backer al-Qaeda.
On the other hand, President Donald Trump’s administration that would give power to Joe Biden in January has been pushing for reaching a partial result to show its back for Sudan’s transition two years after the revolt that made an end to Bashir’s term.
White House, in the term of the Trump, was aiming to remove any matters that could put in doubt Khartoum’s historic promise to normalize ties with Israel.
On its part, Sudan recently alerted that delays in the US Congress concerning its immunity could slow the Israel deal’s application.
In the US Congress, the legislation also provides for assistance of $700 million to Sudan and an additional $120 million toward the repayment of its debt to the International Monetary Fund.