U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that the United States will remove Sudan from a state terrorism blacklist, a move that could free up international aid for a country hit by flooding and inflation this year. File Photo by Mohammed Abu Obaid/EPA-EFE
Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The African nation of Sudan will be removed from the U.S. state-sponsored terrorism list, President Donald Trump announced Monday, in a move that could open to the door to normalized relations between Sudan and Israel.
"Great news! [The] new government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 million to U.S. terror victims and families," Trump tweeted. "Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, justice for the American people and [a] big step for Sudan!"
If Congress agrees to take Sudan off the State Department's terrorism blacklist, only Iran, North Korea and Syria will be left.
A new transitional Sudanese government has ruled the country since August after former President Omar al-Bashir was removed by a 2019 military coup.
The country has sought international economic aid, which was complicated by its listing on the U.S. state terrorism roster since 1993.
The aid is needed to help recover from the extreme economic hardship in the country which has seen 200% inflation, flooding and food shortages since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been negotiating with Khartoum since the summer to authorize a $330 million escrow payment, offering to erase the country from the terrorism list.
Al-Qaida connections in Sudan were linked to terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens at American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Sudan previously agreed to pay compensation to relatives of the 17 U.S. troops who were killed in an al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
If Congress agrees to erasing Sudan from the list, the country will have immunity from future lawsuits.
Shortly after Trump's announcement, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok tweeted, "Thank you so much, President Trump! We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much."
The Trump administration has brokered historic peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump, now on the campaign trail, has made his diplomatic success in the Middle East part of his stump speeches at rallies in U.S. battleground states.
The governments of Sudan and Israel have been making overtures to each other this year, starting in February when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited with Sudanese leaders in Uganda.