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Victims of U.S. Embassy Bombings Applaud Historic Deal To Hold Sudan Accountable For Its Role In 1998 Terrorist Attacks

Washington, D.C. – The White House today announced that the government of Sudan agreed to pay $335 million to the American families of the victims of the 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The deal, which would remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and must now be approved by Congress, is the next step in a decades-long process for holding Sudan accountable for its role in the attacks and obtaining justice for victims and their families.  

In response, spokespeople, advocates, victims, and their families of the 1998 bombings released the following statements: 

“On behalf of the families killed in the 1998 bombing of the Nairobi embassy, I wish to express our appreciation for the long hard work of the State Department, and the new civilian regime in Sudan, to secure Sudan’s payment of compensation to our diplomatic families for that act of terror. The escrow fund established by that agreement, once it is released to the victims, will fulfill a longstanding commitment first made by President Bush, honored by President Obama, and now affirmed by President Trump, to condition normalization on compensating survivors and the families of those who were lost to acts of terror. In so doing, we vindicate the sacrifice of our diplomats abroad,” said Edith L. Bartley, spokesperson for the families of the Americans killed in the August 7, 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. “We urge Congress to immediately pass the legislation that is needed to implement the agreement, and begin the payment process. Congress cannot let this agreement fall victim to legislative gridlock and bickering.  The victims, and our regional allies who wish to have Sudan emerge as a economically viable supporter of regional peace, are depending on Congress to act swiftly in support of this effort.” 

“By any objective metric, this is a historic step forward for Sudan and for overall stability in the Middle East,” said Ed Royce, Former U.S. Representative and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “But it only happens if this Congress ratifies this deal.  Whatever your political stripes are, doing right by the victims and families of those who lost their lives in terror attacks like the 1998 Nairobi bombing is something both parties should agree must be done and I encourage the leaders in both the Senate and House to act. From President Trump, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – and so many others – the administration deserves significant credit for taking this important action in maintaining stability in the Middle East.” 

“I want to thank President Trump and the State Department for taking decisive and long overdue action to hold Sudan to account for its role in supporting the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings,” said James Owens, victim of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya and named plaintiff in Owens v. Republic of Sudan. “On August 7, 1998, my life, and the lives of many Americans, was changed forever when a truck bomb tore apart the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.  We set out on a search for justice—one that would take longer than anyone imagined.  Today, President Trump and the State Department finally has made Sudan pay and has shown to all those who support terrorism against the United States that, eventually, the bill comes due.” 

"This is an incredibly meaningful moment for us. After 22 years, the Trump Administration finally has gotten Sudan to accept responsibility for what it did,” said Frank and Yasemin Pressley, victims of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. “We are deeply grateful for the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Pompeo in getting us to this point.  Now we need Congress to do its part." 

“This is a bittersweet day for our family,” said Patricia Fast, daughter of Clyde Hirn, victim of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. It is wonderful that President Trump finally has held Sudan responsible for my father’s injuries, but we’re saddened that he did not live to see this day.  But I think he would be very proud that the State Department that he served finally had achieved this measure of justice for their fallen colleagues.” 

"Today is a momentous day.  For over two decades, we have waited for Sudan to accept responsibility for the terrorist attacks on our US embassies in East Africa,” said Joyce and Worley Reed, family of victim in the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. “We are thankful to President Trump and the State Department for finally making this day happen.  But the work is not yet done.  We need Congress to act and pass legal peace legislation now." 

"22 years ago, I permanently lost my vision as a result of the terrorist bombing of our East Africa embassies and many of my friends and colleagues lost their lives,” said Ellen Karas Richards, victim of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. “We all have waited far too long for Sudan to finally be held accountable for its role in the attacks.  Today, is finally that day.  I thank President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for making this happen.  And I urge Congress to do its part to pass the peace legislation and make sure that the victims of those attacks are not left behind." 

“We want to extend our sincere gratitude to the Trump Administration for holding Sudan accountable for its role in the 1998 embassy bombings that forever altered our lives and those of many other victims,” said Victoria and Gary Spiers, family of victim in the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi. “We hope that Congress can put aside other interests and pass legislation to implement this agreement and to bring a sense of closure to an ordeal that has lasted for more than two decades.” 


Rebecca Carr
Director of PR, Media and Communication