South Sudan NEWS PORTAL (JUBA CITY)
July 8, 2020 (WASHINTON) – The U.S. ranking member in the Senate foreign relations committee Senator Bob Menendez is blocking a $300 million deal that would eventually see Sudan get off the list of states that sponsor terrorism.
According to the New York Post Menendez believes that the settlement shortchanges some of the victims.
The Sudanese transitional government reached a preliminary agreement with the victims of the 1998 twin terrorist bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Some of the victims are U.S. nationals while the rest are foreigner through a chunk of the latter has since acquired U.S. citizenship.
Last month the U.S. supreme court revived the possibility of collecting $4.3 punitive damage claims from Sudan on the embassy bombings.
U.S. courts held Sudan liable because in the 1990’s it hosted al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks.
According to the negotiated deal, the families of the 12 Americans murdered during the attack will receive $10 million each, while foreign victims would get $800,000.
About 224 people died in the bombing on the two embassies and over 4,000 were wounded.
The influential Democrat Senator told the New York Post he was concerned because the deal was not fair for the foreign victims who would end up receiving less than their US counterparts.
The agreement with the Sudanese government “simply does not do justice for the many victims who worked at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in some cases for decades, and who are now American citizens.”
“We must be sure that the United States reaches the best settlement possible for every American family impacted by these horrid terrorist attacks,” he further stressed.
African victims are at odds with American victims who are pushing Congress to approve the deal.
The spokeswoman for the Families of the Americans Killed in Nairobi Edith Bartley called Menendez’s stance a “travesty” in the wake of the killing of her Queens-born father, Julian Bartley, the first African-American consul general to Nairobi and the most senior US diplomat slain in the attack.
It also claimed her brother, Jay, 20, who was doing a summer internship at the embassy.
“It would be a travesty for any member to block the passage of this agreement over compensation levels,” Bartley wrote in a June 4 letter to the powerful Democrat.
The Sudanese transitional government which took power after the fall of the former regime of Omer al-Bashir worked hard to convince the U.S. administration to rescind it from the terrorism list.
Complicating the matter is Sudan’s dire economic situation in the face of these compensation demands particularly as foreign economic assistance has fallen short of expectations.
The New York Post said that despite Menendez objections, the US-Sudan Agreement has bipartisan support in Congress, and is being reviewed by the Senate which is expected to vote on the issue in the coming days.
The Sudanese government wants a resolution enacted by Congress that would restore its sovereign immunity that was stripped because of the terrorism designation.
It is not clear however how the looming US elections would impact the calculus in the Senate which is currently under the Republican majority.
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