White House: Sudan and Israel to normalize relations
October 23, 2020
Israel and Sudan are on course toward normalizing relations as part of a U.S.-brokered deal, the White House announced on Friday.
“President @realDonaldTrump has announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to the normalization of relations,” tweeted Deputy Assistant to the president, Judd Deere, adding that this move is “another major step toward building peace in the Middle East with another nation joining the Abraham Accords”.
This move comes after the president removed Sudan from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism this week, and after the Arab nations of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formally normalized their ties with the State of Israel last month in a U.S.-brokered deal.
Sudan and other predominantly Muslim countries have treated Israel hostilely for decades because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This recent diplomatic shift in the Arab world toward reconciliation with Israel symbolizes a changing political dynamic in the Middle East, especially as many Arab nations grow increasingly antagonistic toward Iran.
The first Arab countries to recognize Israel were Egypt in 1979 and the U.S.-aligned Kingdom of Jordan in 1994, each under different circumstances.
Also historically significant is that the removal of Sudan from the state-sponsored terror blacklist marks the end of the authoritarian country’s international isolation. In 1993, the United States imposed sanctions on the landlocked North African nation for aiding terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as for sheltering Osama bin Laden, who led al-Qaeda at the time. Additionally, al-Qaeda and the group Egypt Islamic Jihad in 1998 bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, taking over 200 lives.
Countries placed on this State Department list are prohibited from receiving financial aid from international entities such as the International Monetary Fund, something which the economically impoverished country needs desperately.
Also related to this deal is that Sudan has to compensate American victims of terror attacks that it was involved in and their families in the amount of $355 million. President Trump said on Monday that he would remove Sudan from the terror list if it followed through on this, which it did on Tuesday. Trump then signed an executive order to take it off the list.
Congress has 45 days to rubber-stamp this action, however.
Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, thanked the U.S. president in a tweet for removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism blacklist.
“Thanks to President @realdonaldtrump for signing today the executive order to remove Sudan from #SSTL,” he wrote. “We’re working closely with the US Administration & Congress to conclude the SSTL removal process in a timely manner. We work towards int’l relations that best serve our people.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.