Alex Edelman / AFP via Getty Images
Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize their relations and open economic and trade ties, the United States and Israel announced Friday. The United States said earlier this week that it would remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of the agreement.
“This is an unbelievable deal for Israel and Sudan,” President Trump said in the Oval Office, according to a White House report. “For decades, Sudan was at war with Israel. They were at war and boycotted Israeli goods. There was no relationship at all.”
Sudan has been witnessing a transitional government since last year, when the army ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir in the wake of a popular uprising. The country recently agreed to pay $ 335 million to a fund for American victims of terrorism and their families, as Trump announced earlier this week.
Once it is deposited, I will remove Sudan from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Trump said.
Sudan has been trying hard to get out of US sanctions linked to the terrorism list, and has taken steps such as settling claims related to the USS Cole bombing 20 years ago and agreeing to payments for the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania.
But Sudan recently faced a new obstacle in getting off the terrorism list, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the country that it would also need to “sign the Trump administration’s agenda in the Middle East and normalize relations with Israel,” said Michelle Clement of NPR. I reported early this month.
Trump’s announcement of the payment agreement and his promise to raise the flag sponsor of terrorism quickly increased speculation that Sudan would join Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in agreeing to establish relations with Israel.
Palestinian leaders have always demanded that Arab states not establish relations with Israel until a mutual peace is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. On Friday, the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli-Sudanese agreement.
As part of the agreements reached this week, the United States will also help Sudan handle billions of dollars in international debt.
Trump promised that other countries would also want to establish relations with Israel – and maybe even Iran.
The President said, “I can see Iran at the end of the day – it looks like, at the moment, it doesn’t look like something will happen, but I see it happening.”
“In the end, they will all be one family,” Trump added. “It would be a great thing. Maybe it never happened in the Middle East, because the Middle East is known for conflict and fighting.”
According to the joint statement issued on Friday, the leaders of the United States, Israel and Sudan “spoke today to discuss Sudan’s historic progress towards democracy and opportunities for promoting peace in the region.” He adds that the historic transformation will enhance regional security and open new opportunities for people in Sudan and Israel as well as their neighbors.
Resolving terror compensation claims against Sudan could close a complex and painful legal process: In 2018, the Trump administration sided with Sudan and against survivors of the USS Cole, and agreed that the survivors’ compensation claim should have been mailed to the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In Khartoum instead of its embassy in Washington. Last year, the US Supreme Court overturned a ruling of $ 315 million, in agreement with Sudan and the US government.
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