KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - A wave of happiness late Monday and early Tuesday swept the public in Sudan for the US President Trump’s decision removing the country from the list of countries it designates as sponsors of terrorism.
Citizens continued Monday night and Tuesday to exchange congratulations on the promising development. Worshippers in mosques were seen congratulating each other at dawn prayer early Tuesday morning.
Speakers on TV and radio talk shows appeared upbeat about the economic future of the country and its chances of attracting real foreign investments in its energy, agriculture and industry sectors.
The speakers had considered the US decision designating Sudan as sponsor of terrorism in 1997 a true consequence of the rash polices of the defunct regime of General Omar Albashir and his cronies.
They agreed that the county’s present harsh economic situation was very much due to the US sanctions.
Sudan’s struggle to extricate itself from this list had continued for decades now, with the US always widening the woodwork of the goal. It once asks Sudan to make peace with its armed foes. Then it asks Sudan to sever ties with countries like Iran and North Korea. And So on.
The latest of these demands was asking the Sudan to pay compensations for the victimized families of American citizens killed in terror attacks of the US destroyer S.S Cole on the Yemeni Coast and also attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, in which the US accused Sudan of helping the perpetrators. US courts have ruled heavy sums amounting to 10.2 billion dollars in compensations for those victims.
But Sudanese legal and diplomatic teams, led by Justice Minister Dr. Nasreddin Abdelbari and assisted by Sudan’s American lawyers, in laborious talks, managed to convince the relatives of those killed or hurt in the incidents to accept $335 million Dollars in indemnities.
Then came the question: How can Sudan pay this sum? The answer was given by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in a public statement Monday night “We exported gold and treasured the sum in a special Ministry of Finance account and when we became sure the US would lift Sudan from the terror list, we released the sum for them,” he said.
He said the sum has already been sent and “we are waiting for President Trump to fulfill his promise.”
As a result Prime Minister Hamdok apparently received the US approving nod. “We have done what is due to our side, and are now waiting for the US decision,” he said at one point early in the week.
Very soon the US response came through: In a tweet Monday President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he was informing the US Congress that he was removing Sudan from the terror list. In his tweet, entitled “Great News”, Mr. Trump wrote: “New Government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $ 335 MILLION to US victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list. At long last JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!”
In a statement on the website of the Sovereignty Council (the head of state), Council Chairman General Burhan expressed Sudan’s “thanks and gratitude for President Trump to take the step of removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism”.
“The American President’s decision is a recognition of the great change that occurred in Sudan and of the people of Sudan’s sacrifices for freedom, peace and justice,” added General Burhan.
In his turn, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok congratulated the people of Sudan for the “great and well-deserved achievement:.”
“The people of Sudan had never been sponsors or supporters of terrorism,” he said.
“Ever since I took this office last year, I have conducted a serious dialogue with the US Administration to lift Sudan from the terror list. I have often notified you that we were close to the moment when the Sudan is lifted from this list. And this has come true today,” he said.
He added that through “dialogue and discussions we managed to reduce the compensation sum from 10 billion dollars to just a few hundred dollars.”
“Some may ask: How could we provide this sum under this crushing economic crisis. We provided this sum from our own resources. Through gold exports we obtained this sum,” said Hamdok.
He said the US decision provides “netter possibilities and conditions to run the economy with new mechanisms and policies, which are integrative and more viable. “
“Lifting Sudan from the US Terror list, opens the doors wide for Sudan’s deserved return to the international community,” he added.
“This moment reaffirms the real beginning of our departure from the heavy legacy of the ousted regime when we were under siege. Sudan is now returning to the international monetary system,” he said.
He said the US decision qualifies Sudan to the cancellation of debts that amount to more than sixty billion Dollars. ”This decision opens wide avenues for investments. And, more important, it permits the financial transfers of Sudanese citizens working abroad through safe channels and helps to access the country to technology from which it was deprived because of the sanctions,” he said.
PM Hamdok also said the decision helps rebuild national economic institutions like Sudan airways, Sudan Shipping Line, Sudan Railways and others which were destroyed because of lack of spare parts.
“We have a long road to go, that needs serious planning. We have to work together to get maximum benefit from this step,” he said.
“The Government has fulfilled what it has promised without any non-national agenda,” he said in conclusion.
In a tweet to the US President Dr. Hamdok also wrote :
“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. This tweet and that notification are the strongest support to Sudan’s transition to democracy and to the Sudanese people. As we’re about to get rid of the heaviest legacy of Sudan’s previous, defunct regime, I should reiterate that we are peace-loving people and have never supported terrorism.”
In its response, the European Union, that had always kept pushing for the removal of Sudan from the terror list, also, in a letter by its Foreign Minister, welcomed the US decision.
Spokesman to the Sovereign Council Mohammad Alfaki, in a tweet thanked Sudan’s friends in Europe, and Africa and the Arab world for their support to the Sudan and its endeavor to take off its name from the terror list.
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