The United States on Monday reinstated Sudan’s sovereign immunity, as the US Congress passed legislation formalizing the move, following the ending of Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terror.
However, the legislation includes an exemption allowing lawsuits by the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States already underway in US courts to move forward, although experts say Sudan is unlikely to lose those cases.
The state sponsor of terror designation, which was in place for almost three decades, had weighed on Sudan’s economy and restricted its ability to receive aid. For investors, the reinstating of sovereign immunity removes another layer of financial risk.
Sudan had been engaged in talks with the United States for months, and paid a negotiated $335 million settlement to victims of al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in East Africa in 1998 who had been awarded much higher damages by US courts.
The process to release the settlement money and restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity – protection against being sued in American courts – had been stalled in the US Congress as it had been tied to the $892 billion coronavirus aid package.