Sudan must pay a $30 million settlement to the families of 17 U.S. Navy sailors killed in the U.S.S. Cole’s 2000 bombing in an effort to be removed from the list of U.S. state terrorist sponsors, Sudanese officials said.
Sudan’s government “explicitly denies” any role in the attack and claims the payout revealed Wednesday is intended to “settle the historic charges of terrorism left by the former regime.” Omar al-Bashir, the country’s long-time president, was ousted in April after a protracted popular uprising in a military coup.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the agreement was made “to satisfy the conditions set by the U.S. administration to withdraw Sudan from the list of State terrorist sponsors to normalize relations with the U.S. and the world.”
The Cole was targeted by suicide bombers in a small explosive-filled boat while refueling in Yemen’s Aden harbor. About 39 sailors were injured in the attack.
The bombing was traced to al Qaeda and foreshadowed, less than a year later, September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
A U.S. court concluded in 2014 that Sudan had provided aid to Qaeda that contributed to the attack, offering compensation to the families for $35 million.
Negotiations are now underway to reach a settlement agreement for the victims of the 1998 East African embassy bombings in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, information minister Faisal Mohamed Saleh told CNN in Sudan.
The agreements could clear the path to debt relief for Sudan. A dire economy that has prevented its transitional government from tackling fuel shortages and a long-term liquidity crisis is crippling the country.