Sen. Menendez: Resolve 9/11 claims or Sudan bill can't pass

A US government official said on Monday that Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terror was likely to be removed in the coming days.

US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) questions Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, DC, U.S. July 30, 2020 (photo credit: JIM LO SCALZO/POOL VIA REUTERS)
US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) questions Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, DC, U.S. July 30, 2020
(photo credit: JIM LO SCALZO/POOL VIA REUTERS)
The Senate will not pass bills necessary to fulfill the Trump administration's commitments to the burgeoning democratic government in Khartoum if the US State Department does not address claims against Sudan from victims of 9/11 and other terror attacks, US Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Sudan’s transitional government – in place since former president Omar al-Bashir was deposed last year – has sought to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terror and to receive economic aid, debt relief and investments from the US, where there is broad bipartisan consensus in favor of these moves.
US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that Sudan would be removed from the list pending the payment of $335 million in compensation for victims of terror.
Part of the deal between the countries is that Congress would pass legislation granting Sudan immunity from further lawsuits from past victims of terror attacks, but Menendez and other Senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have demanded that the claims of additional victims of terror not be blocked.
In his letter to Pompeo, Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, voiced his strong support for US engagement with and assistance to the Sudanese government as it transitions into democracy, and has pushed for greater American backing for that transition.
At the same time, he has called for hearings in the Senate “so that all stakeholders, including the families of 9/11 victims, Americans impacted by the 1998 embassy bombings, the Sudanese diaspora and the State Department can express their views in a public forum.”  
Menendez said in the letter written last week that he “would like to see swift passage” of legislation settling terrorism-related claims and restoring Sudan’s legal standing in the US, but said it would be necessary for “the State Department to work with us in good faith to resolve my concerns.”
Those concerns are the need to “ensure that 9/11 claims are not terminated or otherwise disadvantaged given that those claims were not addressed in the negotiations with Sudan, and; address the inferior treatment of naturalized US citizen victims of terrorism and related issues concerning third-country nationals who were injured or killed in terrorist attacks while working for the United States government.”
The latter refers to staff members at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, bombed in 1998 by al-Qaeda, killing 224 people and injuring thousands. Al-Bashir’s regime harbored al-Qaeda and its founder, Osama bin Laden, for much of the 1990s.  
“Absent an acceptable resolution, passage of the legislation will be extremely difficult and likely impossible to achieve regardless of any commitments or escrow arrangement between the [State] Department and Sudan,” Menendez warned.


Tags sudan 9/11