Sudan settles with families of USS Cole victims

Sudan settles with families of USS Cole victims
© Akout Chol/AFP/Getty Images

Sudan’s transitional government announced Thursday that it has reached a settlement with the families of victims of the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, the latest in a series of moves by provisional officials to improve Khartoum’s relations with the West.

Faisal Saleh, Sudan's information minister and interim government spokesman, told The Associated Press that Sudanese Justice Minister Nasr-Eddin Abdul-Bari traveled to Washington to sign the deal last week, adding that it compensates both those wounded in the attack and the families of those killed. He also said that negotiations are underway for similar settlements with the families of the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Such settlements are considered a necessary step to secure Sudan’s removal from Washington's list of state sponsors of terror, a primary goal of the transitional government.

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Saleh said Sudan could not disclose the figure reached in the Cole settlement while talks were ongoing about the potential embassy settlements, but said the U.S. was free to do so. While the discussions had initially involved figures in the billions, the national treasury is almost entirely depleted, which Saleh said was a major barrier in the process, according to the AP.

“We expect the United States and the world to understand and to be supportive instead of imposing more obstacles," he added.

The current Sudanese government succeeded President Omar al-Bashir, who in 2019 was removed from power by the military after 30 years in office. In another major policy shift, the transitional government this week announced that it would surrender al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of genocide for allegedly allowing ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region beginning in 2003.