Sudan reaches settlement over 2000 USS Cole attack

Feb. 13 (UPI) — The interim government of Sudan announced Thursday it has reached a settlement agreement with the families of U.S. military personnel killed in 2000 terrorist attack against the USS Cole.

A communique from Sudan’s Justice Ministry gave no details of the settlement, which was reached last week, but indicated the move was made in hopes of having the country removed from the U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.

Under the settlement, the government in Khartoum admits no responsibility for the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the guided missile destroyer at Yemen’s Aden harbor.

The bombing, carried out by members of the al-Qaida Islamist terror organization, killed 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injured 39.

A U.S. court ruling in 2014 found that longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir provided key aid to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden before the attack and ordered $35 million in restitution to the victims’ families. However, the decision was dismissed last year because it had not been properly initiated in 2010.

Sudan justice minister Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari said the victims’ compensation package includes a $30 million payment.

Bashir was ousted by the military last year and the interim government said it was willing to compensate the victims’ families, as well as those stemming from the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, in return for removal from the U.S. blacklist, under which it is banned from receiving economic assistance.

U.S. courts have also held Sudan liable for $5.9 billion in compensatory damages to the survivors of the 1998 embassy bombings. A total of 224 people died in those attacks, including 12 Americans.