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Trump says ready to delist Sudan as state sponsor of terror

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Oct 20, 2020 - 07:41 AM

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday he was ready to remove Sudan from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, a major goal of Khartoum, after a compensation deal over past attacks.

“At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump said that Sudan’s year-old transitional government had agreed to a $335 million package to compensate US victims of attacks and their families.

“Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list,” Trump said.

Sudan is one of four nations branded by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism along with Iran, North Korea and Syria — severely impeding economic development, with few major foreign investors willing to run afoul of US laws.

Sudan has been seeking for years to remove the designation, a legacy of former dictator Omar al-Bashir’s welcome of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

The conflict-ridden nation experienced a historic shift last year as Bashir was ousted in the face of youth-led street protests and a civilian-backed transitional government was later installed.

While Trump has authority to remove Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, both the administration and lawmakers have been seeking a package that would compensate victims and families over attacks — namely Al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Trump administration, seeing leverage as it eyed removing the designation, has also leaned on Sudan to recognize Israel, following the lead of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

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