US to remove Sudan from terrorism blacklist

More than 220 people were killed when US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998

US President Donald Trump has announced that the United States would remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism as soon as Khartoum sets aside the $335 million it has agreed to pay to American victims of militant attacks and their families.

The deal could also set in motion steps by Sudan toward establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, a US official said, following similar US-brokered moves by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The details were still being worked out, the source said.

Although Trump made no mention of Israel in his tweet announcing the breakthrough with Sudan, rapprochement between Israel and another Arab country would give Trump a new diplomatic achievement as he seeks re-election on November 3.

Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir and makes it difficult for its transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing, reports Reuters.

Many in Sudan say the designation, imposed in 1993 because Washington believed Bashir was supporting militant groups, has become outdated since he was removed last year and Sudan has long cooperated on counterterrorism.

US-Sudanese negotiations have focused on funds that Washington wants Khartoum to deposit in escrow to be paid for victims of al Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, US government sources said.❐

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