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US removes Sudan from 'state sponsors of terrorism' list

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The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum said Monday that Sudan had been removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that could help the African country get international loans to revive its battered economy and end its pariah status.

According to a Facebook post by the embassy, Sudan’s removal was effective as of Monday. 

“This achievement comes with numerous opportunities for Sudan’s development,” tweeted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, adding that his country “officially” rejoined the international community as a “peaceful nation supporting global stability” after nearly three-decade of isolation.

The designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted militants. 

Delisting Sudan is also a key incentive for the government in Khartoum to normalize relations with Israel. 

The two countries have agreed to have full diplomatic ties, making Sudan the third Arab state — after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — to move to normalize relations with Israel this year. After Sudan, Morocco also established diplomatic ties with Israel.

Sudanese Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, hailed the move as “historic decision” by Trump’s administration. He tweeted Monday that delisting Sudan would “contribute to supporting the democratic transition.”

Sudan is on a fragile transition to democracy following an uprising that led to the military’s ouster of former autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. 

In October, Trump announced that he would remove Sudan from the list if it follows through on its pledge to pay $335 million to American terror victims and their families. 

Sudan has agreed to pay compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks carried out by al-Qaida while bin Laden was living in Sudan.

According to the October announcement, once the compensation money was deposited, Trump was to sign an order removing Sudan from the terrorism list on which it has languished under heavy American sanctions for 27 years.