US and Sudan agree to restore sovereign immunity to end terror lawsuits

Agreement will settle cases brought against Sudan in US courts, including the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. President Donald Trump on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 said Sudan will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism if it follows through on its pledge to pay $335 million to American terror victims and families. Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising last year led the military to overthrow autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022. (AP Photo, File)
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Sudan and the US have signed an agreement to restore the African country’s sovereign immunity in a move to end litigation in American courts over Khartoum's history of involvement in terrorist attacks.

The Sudanese Justice Ministry said on Friday that the agreement will settle cases brought against Sudan in US courts, including for the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, for which Sudan has agreed to pay $335 million to victims.

The deal is part of a US pledge to remove Sudan from its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which dates back to support by removed ruler Omar Al Bashir who had ties with and hosted terrorist groups – including Osama Bin Laden.

President Donald Trump said this month that the US will remove Sudan from the list as soon as Khartoum sent the $335m it has agreed to pay to American victims of militant attacks and their families. Khartoum says it has now transferred the funds.

But the concern in Khartoum was that despite paying compensation it would continue to face further lawsuits unless the US agreed to recognise sovereign immunity, which it lost as a designated sponsor of terrorism.

The terror designation makes it difficult for its transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing as it fights an economic crisis.

Sudan has also agreed to normalise ties with Israel, making Khartoum the third Arab government after the UAE and Bahrain to establish relations with Israel in the last two months.

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on the phone with leaders of Israel and Sudan speaking about the decision to rescind Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo