Skip to comments.Sudan Wants US to Acknowledge, Pay For 'Bungled' Missile Strike (clinton Strikes Aspirin Factory)
Posted on 09/03/2003 12:39:26 AM PDT by kattracks
Nairobi, Kenya (CNSNews.com) - Sudan is calling for compensation from Washington for an August 1998 air strike on what the U.S. said at the time was a factory manufacturing chemical weapons and financed in part by al Qaeda.
It has used the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the incident to mount a campaign urging the U.S. to refrain from actions which violate the sovereignty of other states, and also to call on African states which have not done so to sign and ratify the international Chemical Weapons Convention, banning the use and manufacture of chemical weapons.
Khartoum maintains that the building destroyed by U.S. missiles was a privately-owned pharmaceutical factory.
The facility was targeted along with simultaneous attacks on six sites in the then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, described by Washington as bases used by Islamic terrorists.
The Clinton administration ordered the cruise missile strikes from the Indian Ocean in retaliation for the deadly bombing earlier that month of the U.S. Embassies in two East African capitals, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which killed more than 220 people and injured more than 5,000.
Sudan's campaign comes at a time when a new book critical of Clinton-era terrorism policy claims that the U.S. during the 1990s repeatedly turned down offers by Sudan to share intelligence information on Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda operatives.
"Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror," by investigative journalist Richard Miniter, says Washington also rebuffed an offer by Sudan to arrest and hand over bin Laden himself, who was based in Sudan for several years.
On August 20, the day of the air strike, President Clinton announced that the attack on the "chemical weapons-related facility" was in order "to prevent and deter additional attacks by a clearly identified terrorist threat."
The air strikes came at a time when the U.S. was embroiled in the Lewinsky affair, and numerous critics of the decision at the time accused Clinton of ordering the attack to divert attention from the scandal.
Clinton testified before a grand jury on Aug. 17 of that year, and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky made her second appearance before the grand jury on Aug. 20.
Sudanese Embassy officials in Nairobi say the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum produced 50 percent of Sudan's prescription drugs for medical and veterinary purposes.
They said the attack on the factory had set back Sudan's socio-economic development.
The U.S. Embassy here declined to comment on the case.
A Sudanese diplomat, Osam Abdel Bari, said in a statement the attack was based on wrong intelligence information.
Khartoum's campaign is being seen as part of renewed efforts to disassociate itself from global terrorism activities.
Analysts say Sudan is concerned it could be left out in the cold when another pariah state linked to terrorism, Libya, is accepted back into the international fold once settlement for the Lockerbie and other terror attacks is finalized.
Both Sudan and Libya are on the State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations.
Bari said Sudan wants the U.N. Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to Khartoum to investigate the claims that the factory was being used to make chemical weapons.
Despite Sudan's willingness to cooperate with the U.S., Bari said, Washington "is not exerting serious efforts to resort to constructive dialogue to resolve the outstanding differences that strain the bilateral relations in a peaceful way."
(CNSNews.com Pacific Rim Bureau Chief Patrick Goodenough contributed to this report.)
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