Trump says he will remove Sudan from list of state sponsors of terrorism
The President added that Sudan should deposit the funds before being removed from the terrorism list.
In response to the tweet, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok thanked Trump and pointed out that the designation had caused serious “harm” to Sudan.
The removal of Sudan from the list should give a significant economic boost to the country. Since 1993, the designation has barred the government from international dollar transactions and thwarted investment and the country’s ability to repay interest-laden loans totaling tens of billions of dollars.
But the expected decision carries risks for the future government in Khartoum.
Talks have nearly collapsed in recent weeks as Sudanese officials fear that hasty recognition of Israel, without a big enough economic aid package to sweeten the deal, could turn popular support against a transitional government precarious and unelected, who took power after the long period of Sudan. autocratic rule was overthrown last year.
Accordingly, Monday’s announcement did not include any mention of Israel, which is unpopular in Sudan.
“Finally, JUSTICE for the American people and a BIG step for Sudan!” Trump tweeted.
Officials expect Sudanese officials to announce recognition of Israel at a later date.
Still, analysts described it as a watershed moment for a fragile government seeking to overcome its pariah status.
“This announcement has tremendous symbolic and practical significance for Sudan,” said Cameron Hudson, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former chief of staff to the State Department’s special envoy to Sudan. “In practical terms, this removes a stigma that has deterred outside investment. It also frees international financial institutions and other commercial banks to enter the country. This will move Sudan away from cash financing and through more diversified and reputable banking partners in the United States and Europe.
Some members of Congress fear a deal could jeopardize compensation funds for the families of American victims of the terrorist attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. Families of the victims are seeking a $335 million settlement from Sudan over its role in harboring the men who carried out the plots.
Democrats in Congress are blocking legislation that would restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity, the legal doctrine that makes governments immune from civil suits or criminal prosecution. Sudan lost this immunity when it was placed on the US list of sponsors of terrorism.
The delisting comes at a crucial time of economic vulnerability for Sudan. Inflation has exceeded 200% and basic commodities, including wheat and gasoline, are in short supply. In some cases, lines at grocery stores and gas stations stretch for miles. During this time, the worst floods in a century left more than half a million people homeless and destroyed a harvest season. Pandemic-related border closures have drastically reduced exports and raised unemployment.
Much of Sudan’s hinterland remains plagued by low-level conflict, suppressing regional economies, and the country has still barely recovered from the economic shock of South Sudan’s secession in 2011, which caused a sudden drop in oil revenues for the government in Khartoum.
Economic unrest, and the bread lines in particular, served as the spark for street protests that swept across Sudan in early 2019 and precipitated the military ousting of Omar al-Bashir, who had led the country for 30 years and is charged with war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court in addition to his critics’ allegations of ruinous economic mismanagement. (The ICC representatives were in Sudan this week to discuss the possibility of trying Bashir without releasing him from prison in Khartoum.)
The Sudanese prime minister, a former economist and now head of a transitional civilian government that shares power with a council of generals, had pushed through economic reforms. Last month, the International Monetary Fund announced a key step in this process: a year-long monitoring program which, when completed, could be combined with the delisting of terrorism as the basis for settling all of Sudan’s arrears to the international lending institutions if the country’s reforms were deemed sincere and fully implemented.
“Sudan’s external debt is high and with long-standing arrears that severely limits access to external borrowing,” Antoinette Sayeh, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF’s executive board, said in a statement. declaration. “A solid track record of macroeconomic performance and reform implementation, as well as a comprehensive arrears clearance and debt relief strategy supported by Sudan’s development partners, are needed to address the Sudan’s high debt overhang”.
The coming rapprochement with Israel represents a major reversal from the Bashir era. For decades, Sudan has been one of Israel’s staunchest opponents, and Bashir has offered funds and arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas and Hezbollah – part of the states’ reasoning States to designate Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sudan was also home to Osama bin Laden until 1996, although he denies any role in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many Sudanese say that because Bashir was removed from office, their country should have been removed by now from the terrorism list.
While the two governments have sought to portray the two issues as separate, normalizing ties with Israel was not part of Hamdok’s plan until US negotiators introduced it as part of a delisting agreement. The problem remains extremely controversial in Sudan, where pro-Palestinian sentiment is strong, and groups across the political spectrum have expressed their displeasure, even anger, with the unelected transitional government for allowing it to participate in the process of radiation.
For this reason, some analysts have criticized the Trump administration’s efforts as selfish and potentially reckless.
“Washington should have already provided the kind of political and economic assistance needed for the success of Sudan’s decisive transition,” said Zach Vertin, nonresident scholar at the Brookings Institution. “Instead, the Trump administration has stood its ground, extorting a fragile democracy in service of its own domestic political ends.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the amount of settlement Sudan would pay to house the men who carried out the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Sudan would pay $335 million, not $355 million, to victims or their survivors.
Bearak reported from Nairobi.