U.S. Congress Passes Sovereign Immunity Bill for Sudan
December 21, 2020 (WASHINGTON) - U.S. lawmakers finally approved a bill reinstating Sudan’s sovereign immunity for after months of political wrangling
The legislation which was endorsed by both chambers of the U.S. Congress was released as part of US government funding bill and sent to President Donald Trump to sign into law.
The ’Sudan Claims Resolution Act’ would quash all terror-related claims in court with the exception of 9/11 cases currently pending.
The U.S. will also pay a portion of the 1998 embassy bombings victims $150 million to settle their claims. They constitute African victims who have later acquired US citizenship.
Furthermore, Sudan stands to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. under the funding bill including debt relief and other economic assistance.
According to the bill, the U.S. will disburse $111 million to pay off part of Sudan’s bilateral debt, and $120 to help pay off its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Also, the legislation provides to support Sudan with $700 million until September 2022.
The Sudanese government signed a bilateral claims agreement with the United States last month that stipulated removing Sudan from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism and passing the ‘legal peace’ bill in return for paying $335 million to settle with the victims of terror attacks.
The deal covers the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack against the USS Cole off the port of Aden in 2000 as well as the 2008 killing of USAID employee in Khartoum.
But the Senate Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee insisted that the initially proposed bill extinguishes potential claims by 9/11 families and offered their own versions that allow them to go after Sudan in courts.
Sudan warned the U.S. that its agreement on normalization with Israel will not hold unless the sovereign immunity bill is passed. This also prompted Israeli officials to lobby U.S. lawmakers to salvage the deal.