In what is being seens as a Middle East diplomatic breakthrough for US President Donald Trump, Sudan is normalising relations with Israel in exchange for Washington removing Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Trump made the announcement at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan's Sovereignty Council chairman Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on the phone with him.
A statement released by The White House on Friday, 23 October, mentioned, “After decades living under a brutal Islamist dictatorship that supported terrorism, the people of Sudan are in charge and democracy is taking root. The Sudanese transitional government has demonstrated tremendous courage and commitment to combating terrorism, building its democratic institutions, and improving its relations with its neighbours.”
Similar Agreements Signed by UAE, Bahrain in Last Few Months
The development comes after Israel had signed similar agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the last few months.
According to The Washington Post, the agreement between Sudan and Israel sidelines the Palestinians, “who have boycotted talks with Trump’s envoys, while drawing new economic and diplomatic partnerships with Israel.”
The earlier agreements with UAE and Bahrain, too, sidelined the Palestinians, the report mentioned.
“The deal does not immediately entail full diplomatic relations, for instance with an exchange of embassies, but it is an agreement to start discussions over normalisation with an initial focus on economic and related matters,” an excerpt from the report read.
Events Before and During the Agreement
After Trump removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, reporters were escorted to the Oval Office where Trump was having a telephonic conversation with the leaders of Israel and Sudan, BBC reported.
While the prime minister of Israel said that the agreement was a “dramatic breakthrough for peace,” Sudanese prime minister expressed his gratitude to Trump for removing Sudan from the terrorism list.
To get Sudan out of the US terrorism list, the White House stated that the Sudanese government had deposited an amount of $335 million “to compensate survivors and family members of anti-US attacks that took place when Bashir's regime welcomed Al-Qaeda,” AFP reported.
During the conversation between the three leaders, Trump also made a reference to former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
He said, “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal? Somehow, I don’t think so.”
To which, Netanyahu said, “Well, Mr President, one thing I can tell you is... we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America."
Trump also mentioned that “at least five more” Arab nations, that includes Saudi Arabia, are considering to reach to similar agreements with Israel.
Palestinian President Condemns Normalising Relations With Israel
The normalising of Israeli ties by the three countries this year ends 26 years of stalemate since Jordan reconnected with it in 1994. Egypt normalised ties with Israel in 1979.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the normalisation of relations with Israel while it occupied Palestinian territories, according to a statement from his office.
Sudan is emerging from a period of unrest that led to the overthrow of the 30-year dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and the setting up of a transition mechanism after a deadly crackdown on civilian protesters by the military and conclusion of a political agreement between them.
(With inputs from BBC, The Washington Post, AFP, IANS)
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