Khartoum Says Finalizing Compensation Settlement for Victims of USS Cole Bombing
Sudan said Monday it has finalized a compensation settlement with families of the victims of the USS Cole bombing, which ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s government was implicated in.
The justice ministry said it had submitted on Friday a petition alongside families who pursued the case with the relevant US court to end pending lawsuits against Sudan.
“The settlement procedures have now been completed in such a way that would permanently scrap lawsuits,” the ministry said in a statement.
It did not give further details on the deal or the amount of compensation.
Since the ouster of Bashir last April, Sudan has been in talks with the US over its removal from the blacklist in a bid to revive its ailing economy.
The ministry stressed that the settlement “clearly states that Sudan was not responsible for the attack of the USS Cole... [the deal] was only to serve Sudan’s strategic interest.”
Khartoum agreed in February to compensate the families of 17 American sailors who were killed in the suicide bombing targeting their navy destroyer in Yemen’s Aden harbor in 2000.
A US court held Sudan responsible for the attack and ordered compensation, finding that the bombers were trained in the country.
In March 2019, the US Supreme Court overturned the ruling on procedural grounds.
Khartoum has always denied the charges but by agreeing to a settlement, Sudan has fulfilled a key condition set by the United States to remove it from Washington’s state sponsors of terrorism list.
The United Stated has put a set of conditions to remove Sudan from its blacklist, one of which is paying compensations for families of the victims of the USS Cole bombing and attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Washington has accused Islamic extremist groups affiliated with the government, which was ruling Sudan in August 1998 and October 2000.
Sudan has been on Washington’s blacklist since 1993 over its alleged support of radical groups, a designation that impeded foreign investment.
Government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh said his country will follow the same settlement approach with families of victims in attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, to reach a reasonable compensation the government can pay.