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President Trump speaks on the White House phone to the leaders of Sudan and Israel, Oct. 23. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill Monday that will give Sudan immunity from future lawsuits by the victims of the 1998 American Embassy bombings in East Africa and provide Sudan with close to $1 billion in U.S. financial aid and loans. But the bill will not give Sudan immunity from lawsuits by families of 9/11 victims. 

Why it matters: The legal aspect was a critical part of the deal between the Trump administration and Sudan, which included removing the country from the state sponsors of terrorism list and the normalization of Sudanese relations with Israel.

  • The signing of the bill will allow this process to continue. 

The big picture: In recent weeks, there were intense diplomatic and political negotiations in Washington over the bill.

  • The Sudanese government demanded full legal immunity, but a group of Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) refused to give Sudan immunity over future lawsuits by 9/11 victims. 
  • Sudanese officials had threatened that the normalization process with Israel could be in jeopardy if the bill didn't pass and if they didn't get the immunity.
  • Israel lobbied Democratic and Republican senators to give Sudan immunity from future lawsuits. But differences remained until recent days.

Between the lines: A U.S. official told me the White House managed in the past few days to reach a compromise: Sudan would get legal immunity from all future lawsuits except for 9/11 victims.

  • Sudan will be compensated for that by getting $700 million in direct U.S. financial aid and more than $200 million in loans.
  • The victims of the 1998 terrorist attack on the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed over 200 people, will get $150 million in compensation from the U.S. government and another $335 million from Sudan in return for dropping all lawsuits.

For the record: U.S. officials said the Sudanese government, the Democratic senators and victims' families of the 1998 and Sept. 11 terrorist attacks all agreed to the compromise.

  • The agreement was entered into the omnibus bill that passed in Congress and was sent to the president for his signature.

What's next: The immunity deal will allow the Sudanese government to get access to foreign aid and investments without the fear of sanctions and lawsuits.

  • It will also enable the country to continue the normalization process with Israel.

Flashback: Secret Israel-Sudan contacts enabled deal sealed by Trump

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that the omnibus bill was sent to President Trump for his signature (he has not already signed it).

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - World

Netanyahu doesn't want a fight with Biden over Iran — yet

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.