September 24, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan and U.S. governments have not yet signed a bilateral agreement on the removal of the former from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST), said David Hale U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
The claims agreement which is still under negotiations between the two country is crucial for resorting Sudan’s sovereign immunities by the Congress preventing future claims against the East African country.
On Thursday, Hale was speaking at the Senate Foreign Relations hearing on “U.S. Policy in a Changing Middle East” with a special focus on Iran.
However, Ranking Senator Robert Menendez managed to bring the debate to the exclusion of the claims of 9/11 victims from the ongoing process to rescind Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.
After reiterating his rejection of any agreement that did not protect the victims of 11/9 attacks and their compensation by the Sudanese government, he asked Hale to provide the Congress with a copy of the bilateral deal struck with Sudan on this respect.
In his response, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs said they already sent a letter that describes the nature of the agreement on Sudan’s delisting but the agreement itself has not yet been signed.
“I will go back to our legal advice office. I know we didn’t finalize the agreement itself. So, we didn’t have it to share. But we did describe in some details the essential elements,” he said before to be interrupted by Menendez.
“You can’t ask the Congress to pass implementing legislation for an international agreement, basically you asked to sign on the dotted line, yet you wouldn’t see this agreement,” said the ranking senator.
“That is absurd,” he stressed.
On 16 September, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged the Senate to pass the legislation before the end of October, adding that they would likely sign the claims agreement with the Sudanese agreement and remove Sudan from the blacklist by the end of the upcoming month.
In his discussion with Menendez, Hale said that the claims agreement offers “compromises that would have a high level of protection to any future claims of 9/11 victims against the Sudanese government in the U.S. courts”.
His statement confirms reports published last week about the possibility for the 9/11 victims to take legal action against the Sudanese government under the same legislation they are using to sue Saudi Arabia for backing the attacks.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok told his cabinet that the funds necessary to compensate the terror victims are now ready after facing some difficulties to collect it.