Sudan reaches settlement deal with families of USS Cole victims

  • Sudan reaches settlement deal with families of USS Cole victims

Sudan reaches settlement deal with families of USS Cole victims

At the time of the October 12, 2000, attack in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 sailors and wounded more than three dozen others, Sudan was accused of providing support to al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The deal clearly specifies that the government of Sudan was not responsible for the incident or any such terrorist incident and it is doing this deal only to. fulfil the condition put by the American administration to remove Sudan from its terrorism list", the ministry said in a statement.

For Sudan, being removed from the USA terror list will end the country's economic isolation and allow it to attract much-need loans from worldwide financial institutions in order to rebuild the economy after the popular uprising past year that toppled al-Bashir and installed the joint civilian-military sovereign council.

In October 2017, the United States lifted its decades old trade embargo imposed on Sudan, but kept the country on the terrorism blacklist.

High inflation and shortages of fuel and foreign currency helped trigger the protests which led to the downfall last April of the long-serving President Omar al-Bashir. Sudanese officials said a settlement had been reached with the families on February 7, but did not specify how much compensation would be given.

Sudan's transitional government has said the country's economy has been stunted because of USA sanctions, which has deterred global investors.

The compensation is one of several steps taken recently to appease Sudan's critics.

Thursday's announcement of the settlement from Khartoum comes two days after Sudan's provisional rulers said they had agreed to hand over autocrat al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face trial on charges of war crimes and genocide during the fighting in the western Darfur region. That money is on top of $14 million that was awarded in an earlier case.

More than 200 people were killed in those attacks.

Why was Sudan put in the U.S. blacklist?

The families of the dead and the wounded sailors had sued the Sudanese government in USA courts, demanding compensation for the country's role in supporting al-Qaida.

"The politics of getting off the list are always incredibly complicated and draw in issues that don't directly have anything to do with terrorism", said Benjamin, who now directs the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Bin Laden used to reside in Sudan from 1992 to 1996. In the agreement, Sudan makes no admission of wrongdoing.

For Sudan, being removed from the USA terror list will end the country's isolation and allow it to attract much-need loans from global financial institutions in order to rebuild the economy after the popular uprising previous year that toppled al-Bashir and installed the joint civilian-military sovereign council.

What happened to the USS Cole?

On Oct. 12, 2000, two suicide bombers in a boat detonated their explosives alongside the USS Cole as the Navy destroyer was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden.

The attack's alleged planner, Saudi-born Abd al-Nashiri, is being held in USA custody at Guantanamo Bay. Compensating the victims of the USS Cole attack had been a key condition imposed by the U.S. administration.