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U.S. offers to remove Sudan from terror blacklist for $330M

U.S. offers to remove Sudan from terror blacklist for $330M
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen during his visit to Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday. He later visited Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of State/Mike Pompeo/Twitter

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has angered the government in Sudan by asking for $330 million in exchange for removal from the U.S. blacklist of nations that sponsor terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proposed the exchange during a visit to Khartoum on Tuesday. It was the first visit to Sudan by an American secretary of state since 2005.

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Pompeo said the money would be compensation for victims of al-Qaida terrorist attacks, which include the bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. The United States says Sudan had provided a safe haven for al-Qaida operatives.

The U.S. administration has discussed removing Sudan from the blacklist for years but has insisted that outstanding legal claims must first be settled. Sudan has 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.

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Sudan is one of four nations on the U.S. list, including Iran, North Korea and Syria. Sudan was put on the blacklist in 1993.

The proposal has angered some in the northern African nation, who feel the new civilian government shouldn't be held accountable for the actions of former dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was removed from power last year.

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Sudan under al-Bashir was accused of supporting radical Islamic forces warring against Israel. During the meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also rebuffed Pompeo's overtures to establish diplomatic relations with Jerusalem.

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"[Sudan] does not have a mandate beyond these tasks or to decide on normalization with Israel," Hamdok said.

Pompeo visited Khartoum to pledge support from the Trump administration for Sudan's new government. He also met with Sovereign Council Chair Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Burhan.

Pompeo later visited Bahrain and arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, the next stop on his trip through the Middle East and Africa. He visited Israel on Monday. The UAE this month announced a historic agreement last week to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

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