Sudan's PM thanks Trump: This will help us get debt relief

Sudan begins transferring compensation money to US terrorist victims in exchange for its removal from list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Elad Benari ,

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s announcement that Sudan would be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for paying compensation to families of American terror victims.

“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,” Hamdok wrote on Twitter in response to Trump’s own tweet announcing the move.

“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,” he added.

Speaking later on state television and quoted by Reuters, Hamdok said that Sudan’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism will open the door for it to get relief of its external debt worth $60 billion.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Finance Minister, Hiba Mohamed Ali Ahmed, confirmed in an interview with Al-Arabiya that the country has begun transferring the compensation money to terrorist victims that the United States had demanded.

Hamdok’s government has been pushing for the US delisting in order to help it revive Sudan’s struggling economy ever since it took office last year following the military overthrow of longtime President Omar Al-Bashir.

It is believed that Sudan’s de-listing may be a precursor to Sudan normalizing its relations with Israel following the decisions by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to do so.

Last week, intelligence sources said that the United States had given the Sudanese leadership 24 hours to decide on a normalization agreement with Israel.

The Sudanese government was said to have convened last Thursday to decide on the issue, but no decision was reached.

Hamdok said recently that normalizing ties with Israel was a "complicated" issue needing wide debate within society.

Israel and Sudan have had no formal ties in the past. In 2016, the country’s then-Foreign Minister hinted that his country could consider normalizing ties with Israel, but the government was then quick to that his comments were “taken out of context”.

In February, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met the head of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, during a visit to Uganda.

While Netanyahu’s office said after the meeting that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate towards normalizing ties, Sudan's cabinet later said that Burhan had made no promise to Netanyahu of "normalizing ties" between the two countries.