US signs deal to restore Sudan's sovereign immunity
US signs deal to restore Sudan's sovereign immunity after decades on terror blacklist
The deal, which comes as part of Sudan's removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, means Khartoum will no longer be exposed to US lawsuits.
The United States has signed an agreement with Sudan to restore Khartoum's sovereign immunity after more than two decades spent on a terror blacklist.
The move comes as part of a deal unveiled earlier this month allowing Sudan's removal from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a designation that has since the '90s exposed Khartoum to harmful sanctions and hefty lawsuits.
Khartoum agreed to pay more than $300 million in compensation to the survivors of three major Al-Qaeda attacks. It was blacklisted over its hosting of members of the extremist group, including then-leader Osama bin Laden.
The agreement announced on Friday will come into force once Khartoum has officially been removed from the list, Sudan's Justice Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
That will occur once 45 days has passed without an objection from Congress following the Sudanese compensation payment.
"In exchange, the default judgments and claims against Sudan in US courts will be dismissed, and Sudan's sovereign immunities under US law will be restored to those enjoyed by countries that have never been designated by the United States as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," the justice ministry said in a statement.
Sudan's removal from the terror blacklist comes in tandem with Khartoum's agreement to normalise ties with Israel, also announced last week.
Read more: How US blackmail pushed Sudan to normalise ties with Israel
Critics of the deals have accused Washington of "blackmailing" Khartoum into becoming the third Arab nation this year to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
The agreement to pay in compensation $335 million, in addition to $72 million already paid, has angered many in Sudan as the country grapples with a deepening recession.
The Sudanese transitional government "greatly regrets" having to pay the hefty sum, Justice Minister Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari said on Friday.
"But today's agreement allows Sudan and its people to resolve historical liabilities, restore normal relations with the United States, and move forward toward democracy and better economic times. Today's agreement is an investment in a prosperous future for Sudan and its people," he said.