NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan’s interim government said on Thursday that it had reached a financial settlement with families of the victims of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000, an effort to persuade the United States to remove Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Seventeen sailors died and another 39 were wounded in the attack. Sudanese officials said a settlement had been reached with the families on Feb. 7, but did not specify how much compensation would be given.
There was no confirmation of a deal from American officials. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department on Thursday morning in Washington had no immediate comment.
The U.S.S. Cole, a Navy destroyer, was attacked by suicide bombers in an explosive-laden skiff as the destroyer was preparing to refuel in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. The terrorist group Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.
Relatives of victims and surviving sailors accused Sudan of having supported Al Qaeda, and sought to hold the country liable through American courts.
The announcement comes as Sudan undergoes a fragile democratic transition after the fall last year of president Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the African nation with an iron fist for nearly three decades. Sudan’s interim ruling council, composed of civilian and military officials, is now seeking to shake off decades of diplomatic and economic isolation. Being removed from the American list of state sponsors of terrorism would be a significant step.
Sudan was added to the list in 1993, joining North Korea, Syria, and Iran. The designation restricts foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales and limits financial transactions. Inclusion on the list has crippled Sudan’s economy and deterred foreign investors and commercial banks from doing business in the country.