The announcement was quickly greeted by Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, whose government has been pushing for removal from the list to help him revive Sudan’s struggling economy since taking office last year in the aftermath of the military overthrow of long-time President Omar al-Bashir in a matter of months. long protests.
Thank you very much, President Trump! We look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as the sponsoring state of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too dearly. https://t.co/GeScTPfb0k
– Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) October 19, 2020
“We look forward to your official notification to Congress revoking Sudan’s designation as the sponsor state of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too dearly,” Hamdok wrote, also on Twitter.
The US Congress is expected to approve the deletion after being officially notified by the president.
The United States put Sudan on the list in 1993, four years after al-Bashir took power, accusing his government of supporting “terrorism” by harboring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Washington further accused Khartoum of providing logistical and financial support to al-Qaeda and of helping it bomb the US embassies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya in 1998 and attack the USS Cole. off the port of Aden in 2000. imposed comprehensive economic and trade sanctions on Sudan, which were only relaxed by former US President Barack Obama during his final weeks in office in 2017.
In exchange for its delisting, the transitional government of Sudan agreed to pay $ 335 million to the victims of the attacks on the embassies and the American destroyer.
Removing OSH would allow Sudan to be relieved of its debts under the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, as well as attract much-needed investment.
Being on the list has driven foreign investors away from Sudan, depriving it of the hard currency essential to sustaining an economy that suffered a hard blow when South Sudan became independent in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of Sudan’s oil production.
In the absence of foreign trade and shortage of hard currencies, the authorities have long struggled to contain the country’s rising inflation. Last month, annual inflation rose to 212.29% from 166.83% in August, according to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese pound has lost more than 50% of its value against the US dollar in the past two months, and the cash-strapped government is struggling to pay for supplies of items it subsidizes. such as wheat, fuel and medicines.
The impact of the lack of hard currency is seen daily in the long queues for bread and fuel that fill the sidewalks of Khartoum.
“I’ve been lining up for fuel for over five hours now and it’s something I go through every four days because I’m a taxi driver,” said Abdel-malik Mamoun, a resident of the capital.
“Every four days I spend a whole day waiting for fuel. The situation is going from bad to worse, like a downward spiral and we do not know where the end is.
In recent weeks, talks between Sudanese and US officials have appeared deadlocked after reports emerged that the United States had attempted to link the removal from the list to Sudan establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, following similar agreements negotiated by the United States in August by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. .
During a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Khartoum in late August, Hamdok told Washington’s top diplomat that his transitional administration, which is supposed to lead the country to the polls in 2022, was not mandated to do so. such a step because it was not. an elected government.
While Trump’s tweet did not mention US attempts to get Sudan to establish relations with Israel in exchange for speeding up the delisting process, senior Sudanese officials spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity. and stated that the issue was not on the table and that there were efforts still underway to have Sudan join the list of countries officially recognizing Israel.
In September talks between the two sides in the United Arab Emirates failed to reach a deal, with reports suggesting Sudan had requested shipments of oil and wheat, as well as billions of dollars to help its deteriorating economy. in exchange for such a decision.
US Congressional aides who spoke to Al Jazeera said Sudan could still get US help and support, even if it doesn’t recognize Israel because Washington wants to see the transitional government lead with it. success the country to democracy.
“This Tweet,” Hamdok said in a subsequent Twitter post, “and this notification [to Congress] are the strongest support for Sudan’s transition to democracy and for the Sudanese people ”.