US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reiterated his rejection to removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, if the agreement between Washington and Khartoum does not include compensation for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Speaking at a hearing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during which US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale gave his testimony, Menendez indicated that Sudan is at a “very fragile moment” and he has consistently declared that the administration needs to do more to support democracy there.
However, the Senator stressed that the current compensation agreement with Sudan is not sufficient and “falls short.”
He indicated that the State Department considers the legislation to be fair for the US victims, but he wondered if it is fair that the State Department left “9/11 victims completely out in the cold in the Sudan negotiations? Is it fair that you [Hale] intentionally exclude their claims from the Sudan deal?”
“It doesn’t strike me as a fair deal. It is a slap in the face of our fellow citizens who lost loved ones in 9/11.”
In response, Hale stated that the agreement addresses the existing claims from victims of the embassies' bombings in east Africa.
“We believe that this deal offers a fair basis as do the victims themselves, who have accepted the deal.”
Hale noted that the administration is open to adding amendments and settlements that protect any future claims of 9/11 victims against Sudan.