US President Donald Trump announces that Sudan and Israel have agreed to the normalisation of relations.
US President Donald Trump has announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to the normalisation of relations.
Trump, seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior US officials said on Friday.
Trump added that he expected the Palestinians and other nations, including Saudi Arabia, to also agree to closer ties in coming months.
Khartoum is now the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said Sudan’s decision to normalise relations with Israel was a “new stab in the back” for the Palestinians.
In a telephone call with Trump held in front of reporters at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also welcomed what he called a rapidly expanding “circle of peace”.
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Trump’s decision earlier this week to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the deal with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.
“The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations,” according to a joint statement issued by the three countries.
Israel and Sudan plan to begin by opening economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture, the joint statement said.
A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such issues as formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.
Trump announced on Monday he would take Sudan off the terrorism list once it had deposited $335m it had pledged to pay in compensation.
Khartoum has since placed the funds in a special escrow account for victims of al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Shortly before the Israel-Sudan deal was announced, Trump notified Congress of “his intent to formally rescind Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism”.
The White House called the move a “pivotal turning point” for Khartoum, which is seeking to emerge from decades of isolation.
Trump’s aides have been pressing Sudan to take steps toward normalising relations with Israel, following similar US-brokered moves in recent weeks by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
A sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan’s insistence that any announcement of Khartoum’s delisting from the terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to establishing ties with Israel.
The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.