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Israel relations to be normalised as Sudan is taken off US terror list

October 23 - 2020 WASHINGTON DC
US President Donald Trump calls Sudan PM Abdallah Hamdok, President of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to confirm normalisation of ties between Israel and Sudan (US State Department)
US President Donald Trump calls Sudan PM Abdallah Hamdok, President of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to confirm normalisation of ties between Israel and Sudan (US State Department)

This afternoon, US President Donald Trump confirmed to congress his intent to formally rescind Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, in a move that has been eagerly and cautiously awaited by Sudan.

This follows on Sudan’s recent agreement to resolve certain claims of United States victims of terror and their families. Yesterday, in fulfillment of that agreement, the transitional government of Sudan transferred $335 million into an escrow account for the victims and their families.

The unofficial announcement by Trump on Twitter earlier this week, that the designation of Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is to be rescinded, was welcomed by the Sudanese leadership.

Sudanese prime minister Abdallah Hamdok immediately replied: “Thank you so much, President Trump! We very much look forward to your official notification to Congress rescinding the designation of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much.”

The official announcement coincided today with a joint statement by Sudan, the US, and Israel that: “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

Cartoon by Omar Dafallah

Donald Trump confirmed the agreement in a phone call today with PM Abdallah Hamdok, President of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leading critics in Sudan and abroad have previously suggested that the US would attempt to use the unratified announcement to leverage Sudan to normalise relations with Israel, despite sources close to the government stating that PM Hamdok was resolute in treating the two as separate issues. Hamdok also stressed this point to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Sudan.

A joint US-Israeli team arrived in Khartoum directly from Tel Aviv on Wednesday, to finalize the details on the deal between Israel and Sudan, after the failure of Abu Dhabi talks last September.

According to the Associated Press, Sudanese officials in Khartoum confirmed the secret meeting on the condition of anonymity. "Two senior Sudanese officials confirmed the visit. One of them, a senior military figure, said the US-Israeli delegation came to put final touches on a deal establishing ties with Israel."

Video: Fox Business

'Blackmail'

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Heba Mohamed confirmed that this step “will allow the flow of American investments and borrowing from the global banking system and attract remittances from Sudanese expatriates." She also denied that the decision of the revocation of Sudan from the SST list is linked to any other files: “The government considered this file as a separate file and has no interventions with any other file.”

The Sudanese government said the Sudan-Israeli normalisation deal would be acceptable if the US gives Sudan significant financial support and writes off its debt, according to Associated Press.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, according to the independent Israeli online newspaper The Times of Israel, Sudan was negotiating with the US an additional $3-4 billion in economic aid in exchange for normalising relations with Israel.

Sources in Sudan and Egypt have revealed that Saudi Arabia is to pay $335 million to the US in order to accelerate normalisation of ties between the government in Khartoum and Israel, Safa news agency reported on Wednesday.

“The government considered this file as a separate file and has no interventions with any other file.” – Minister of Finance Heba Mohammed

The leader of the National Umma Party, El Sadig El Mahdi, has rejected any normalization of relations with Israel and threatened to withdraw his support to the transitional government. In a statement on Thursday, El Mahdi said that establishing relations with Israel is similar to establishing relations with South Africa before the end of the apartheid regime.

Renowned Sudan analyst Prof Eric Reeves commented on social media: “By delaying decision to remove Sudan from the US SST list—in order to blackmail transitional govt into normalizing relations with Israel—the Trump administration/Secretary of State Pompeo have unconscionably delayed desperately needed financial assistance to the people of the country."


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