Sudan says near settlement with US for 1998 embassy bombings

Kenyan security guards keep watch over the scene of the bomb explosion the day before near the US embassy in Nairobi on August 8, 1998. (AFP/Alexander Joe)
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Updated 23 June 2020

Sudan says near settlement with US for 1998 embassy bombings

  • Foreign Minister Asma Abdalla said Sudan was close to finalizing a deal to compensate US victims

KHARTOUM: Sudan is close to finalizing a deal with the United States to compensate the victims of 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, Foreign Minister Asma Abdalla said Tuesday.
“The final touches of a settlement with victims of embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are being finalized,” Abdalla told AFP in an interview.
“We now have a delegation in Washington negotiating with the victims’ lawyers and officials at the US Department of State.”
The twin bombings took place in August 1998 when a massive blast hit the US embassy in downtown Nairobi, shortly followed by an explosion in Dar es Salaam.
The attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda killed a total of 224 people and injured around 5,000 — almost all of them Africans.
The US has accused Sudan of aiding militants linked to the jihadist bombings and demanded compensation for victims’ families.
Sudan has since August been led by a transitional administration following the military ouster of president Omar Al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests against his rule.
Under Bashir’s 30-year rule, the country adopted a more radical course of Islam, hosting Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden between 1992 and 1996.
This strained ties with the US, which blacklisted Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The post-Bashir government has sought to boost the country’s international standing and rebuild ties with the US.
In February, Sudan had to compensate families of victims of the USS Cole bombing in 2000 in Yemen’s Aden harbor, for which Al-Qaeda also claimed responsibility.
Khartoum had always denied any involvement but agreed to the settlement to fulfil a key US condition to remove it from Washington’s terrorism blacklist.
After the deal on the embassy bombings, Sudan “will have fulfilled all the requirements” to be removed from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, Abdalla said.


Jets hit Libya’s Al-Watiya Air Base where Turkey may build base

An image grab taken from a video released on July 3, 2020, by the Turkish Defence Ministry shows Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (C) greeting Libyan officials upon his arrival in Tripoli. (AFP)
Updated 06 July 2020

Jets hit Libya’s Al-Watiya Air Base where Turkey may build base

  • Turkish support was vital to the GNA in turning back the LNA offensive with advanced air defenses and drone strikes that targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop buildups

BENGHAZI: Warplanes struck overnight at an air base that was recently recaptured by Libya’s internationally recognized government from eastern forces with help from Turkey, a military source with the eastern forces and a resident nearby said.
The strikes were carried out by “unknown aircraft,” the military source with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said.
A resident at the nearby town of Zintan said explosions were heard from the direction of the base.
Al-Watiya’s recapture in May by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli marked the start of a sudden collapse of the LNA’s 14-month assault to seize the capital and its retreat along the coast to the new frontlines.
Turkish support was vital to the GNA in turning back the LNA offensive with advanced air defenses and drone strikes that targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop buildups.
A Turkish source said last month that Turkey was in talks with the GNA to establish two bases in Libya, one of them at Watiya, the most important air base in western Libya.
Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was in Tripoli for meetings with the GNA on Friday and Saturday and Akar swore to do all that was necessary to help it, a Turkish Defense Ministry statement said.
Last month, the US said Russia had sent at least 14 MiG29 and Su-24 warplanes to an LNA base via Syria, where their Russian airforce markings were removed.
Turkish involvement in Libya has also angered France and Greece and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned of new sanctions on Ankara.
The GNA and LNA are now mobilizing forces at the new frontlines between the cities of Misrata and Sirte.