Sudan has welcomed remarks last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who seeks to delist Khartoum as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Mr Pompeo has repeatedly indicated that the State Department hopes to remove the designation, which severely impedes investment to Sudan, but disputes have arisen on a compensation package over the 1998 bombings of two US embassies.
However, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that Sudan’s civilian transition was a historic opportunity to see change.
State-run Suna reported on Saturday that the Sudanese transitional cabinet affirmed their readiness to work with the US to resolve the terror designation.
Mr Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that legislation on a settlement should come before Congress “in the very, very near term.”
“I think lifting the state sponsor of terrorism designation there if we can … take care of the victims of those tragedies would be a good thing for American foreign policy,” Mr Pompeo said.
He said that the fall of long time dictator Omar Al Bashir following mass protests and the nearly year-old government of a civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, marked “an opportunity that doesn’t come along often.”
“There’s a chance not only for a democracy to begin to be built out, but perhaps regional opportunities that could flow from that as well,” he said.
Al Bashir welcomed Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden and Sudan was accused of aiding militants who blew up the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people and injuring around 5,000 others.
Sudan’s new government has agreed to a compensation package but a dispute has arisen over higher payments to Americans than to Africans, who accounted for the vast majority of the casualties.
Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat known for his interest in Africa, urged Mr Pompeo to “do everything you can” to support Mr Hamdok and seize the chance “to build a new democratic partner in the region.”
Updated: August 2, 2020 10:00 AM