The United States and Sudan have reached a common understanding on the “contours” of a future bilateral claims agreement linked to the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa said on Thursday.
“This final agreement will reflect Sudan’s agreement to pay – it would include compensation in connection with claims relating also to non-US nationals killed and injured in the embassy bombings,” US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Tibor Nagy told a teleconference.
“This has been a high priority for the US government given that these foreign nationals were our employees and contractors, so obviously two sets of litigants: US citizens and non-US nationals.”
Asked about his expectations whether Sudan will be removed from the list of state sponsor of terrorism, Nagy said the termination of the designation of state sponsor of terrorism is not going to be “flipping a switch.”
“It is a process involving several branches of the US government,” he stressed. “I wish I could give you a definitive answer. Unfortunately, I cannot.”
Nagy didn’t give further details, noting that he wants to be very careful about what he says because he is not a “lawyer or a legal expert.”
Regarding the compensation Sudan will have to pay, Nagy did not mention a specific amount but said those details were being worked out.
“We have discussed obviously numbers with the parties involved, but in no way can we make those public yet,” he added.
Asked about the next steps after the Supreme Court ruled that Sudan has to pay more than four billion dollars to the victims of the US East African embassy attack, the official said the US obviously notes the May 18 decision.
“We also recognize that litigation related to those claims is going to continue.”
“I want to underline that we remain absolutely committed to our efforts to work with Sudan to achieve a resolution of the claims related to the 1998 East Africa bombings,” he stated.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that the African nation can’t avoid punitive damages in lawsuits, accusing it of complicity in the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
The ruling reinstates about $826 million out of a total $4.3 billion in punitive damages.
Twelve Americans were killed by the Aug. 7, 1998 truck bombs that detonated outside the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The lawsuits involve 567 people, mostly non-US citizens who were employees of the US government and their relatives.