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US removes Sudan's designation as state sponsor of terrorism

Move comes amid reports Khartoum threated to pull out of normalisation deal with Israel if process not completed by year's end
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, is seen with with Sudan Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Khartoum in August (AFP)

The United States on Monday formally removed Sudan's State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) designation, 27 years after putting the country on its blacklist, the US embassy in Khartoum announced. 

"The congressional notification period of 45 days has lapsed and the Secretary of State has signed a notification stating rescission of Sudan's State Sponsor of Terrorism designation is effective as of today, to be published in the Federal Register," the US embassy said on Facebook.

US President Donald Trump announced in October that he was delisting Sudan, a step desperately sought by the nation's new civilian-backed government as the designation severely impeded foreign investment.

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As part of a deal, Sudan agreed to pay $335m to compensate survivors and victims' families from the twin 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, carried out when former president Omar al-Bashir was welcoming al-Qaeda, and a 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen's coast.

Sudan's transitional government, which took over last year following Bashir's overthrow, also agreed to recognise Israel, a major goal for Trump, although Khartoum has sought to downplay the connection.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Sudan had threatened to pull out of its normalisation deal with Israel if Washington failed to remove the country from the SST list by the end of the year. 

Trump sent his notice to Congress on 26 October and, under US law, a country exits the terrorism list after 45 days unless Congress objects, which it has not.

The delisting is a major boost for Sudan's struggling economy and a pivotal step in its efforts to reintegrate into the international community.