WASHINGTON – Victims of the 1998 bombings on two United States embassies in East Africa will soon receive up to $ 485 million in compensation as part of a far-reaching settlement to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism promote peace with Israel.
But the deal, which is part of the $ 2.3 trillion spending package that Congress will approve on Monday, blames Sudan for potentially billions of dollars in additional payments to the families of those killed in the attacks September 11, 2001 were killed.
The deal puts months of furious negotiations between the Trump administration and Congress on how to help Sudan’s fragile transitional government and indebted economy by settling many of the lawsuits accusing the country of hosting al-Qaeda , mainly in the nineties.
It also ensures that American victims of the bombings on the embassy in Kenya and Tanzania – whether they were US citizens at the time of the attacks or were later naturalized – receive adequate compensation, in addition to the $ 335 million in payouts Pay off $ 150 million Sudan has pledged.
The money should be passed on to the bomb victims in the coming days and weeks, according to a person close to the negotiations who spoke about upcoming laws on condition of anonymity.
“I can finally turn the page and move on with the rest of my life,” said Ellen Bomer, a former Department of Commerce employee who was blind and experienced post-traumatic stress after the explosion at the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya August 7, 1998.
“I believe there is justice,” she added.
Relatives of the 9/11 victims also praised the agreement whereby their own lawsuits against Sudan, filed in federal court in Manhattan from 2002 to 2004, continued despite fierce opposition from the Trump administration and the Khartoum administration.
“The White House has worked all year to lose our rights in order to achieve an independent diplomatic victory,” said Terry Strada, whose husband Tom Strada was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. “We can now return to our pursuit of justice and accountability against those who made the murders of our loved ones possible.”
The Sudanese heads of state and government had demanded immunity from all terrorist lawsuits filed after 1993 – including from the families on Sept. 11 – as part of a more comprehensive agreement that also linked removal from the US terrorism list with approval of normalization of relations with Israel. September. President Trump announced in October that Sudan was the third Arab state to sign the Abraham Accord, his diplomatic campaign to ease tension for Israel in the Middle East and North Africa.
People familiar with the diplomatic talks, who discussed the delicate diplomacy on condition of anonymity, said this month that Sudan has threatened to withdraw from the agreements if it has not received the full immunity of Congress because it feared that the lawsuits could scare foreign investors. There is little hope of alleviating widespread poverty and instability there.
This crux of the matter was hotly debated last week in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, according to those familiar with the negotiations. While disappointed that their country would not receive the so-called legal peace they were calling for, officials said Sudan’s leaders ultimately decided to stay in the peace deal with Israel in exchange for $ 931 million in American aid, Loans and debt relief, which are included in the expense account – and face the 9/11 families in court.
“Sudan is confident it can thwart these claims,” said Christopher M. Curran, a Washington-based attorney who was among Sudan’s officials at the negotiations.
He said Sudan claimed it did not support al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks and was only then blamed for the bombings of the embassy in East Africa after the government of its former president and dictator Omar Hassan al- Bashir did not defend American courts.
Officials on all sides of the debate hope the new aid will help stabilize Sudan and potentially prevent it from being a breeding ground for extremism.
The United States “has critical strategic and national security interests in supporting Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy,” said New York Senators Chuck Schumer and New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, both Democrats. “This support should not and will not come at the expense of protecting the rights of victims of terrorism.”