President Donald Trump has formally notified Congress that his administration will remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism Friday, nearly 30 years after the African country was first listed.
In a historic joint call afterwards, he also announced a “very special deal” between Israel and Sudan — marking the third Arab country to move toward normalizing relations with the Jewish state in an election-season push by his administration. It’s unclear if Sudan, which had pushed back on the White House efforts, is formally recognizing Israel or ending hostilities against it.
Either way, Friday’s events mark a historic new chapter, 18 months after the Sudanese people overthrew their strongman leader in mass protests. But several critical hurdles remain, including for U.S. victims of terror attacks with legal claims against Sudan.
In an agreement reached between the State Department and Sudan’s transitional government, the country agreed to pay $335 million to the victims of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, victims of the USS Cole attack, and the family of murdered USAID employee John Granville.
The White House confirmed Friday that those funds were now in escrow, triggering Trump’s formal notification to Congress. But none of that money will be paid out until lawmakers resolve Sudan’s “legal peace,” and after a deal to do so fell apart last month, several sources warned there’s no resolution in sight.
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