By agreeing to this friendship Khartoum has fulfilled the requirements for being taken off the terrorism-supporter list, says US Secretary of State
NEW YORK — Sudan has agreed to normalise relations with Israel in exchange for Washington removing Khartoum from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. On Friday, Sudan became the third Arab nation after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain to accept Israel as a friend in the past three months under the auspices of the US, cutting the tight ring of Arab solidarity around the Palestinians.
The announcement was made by President Donald Trump 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.
Just 11 days before the November 3 presidential election, the Middle East diplomacy is about the only victory for Trump who has not been able to get a nuclear deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after much hyped meetings or trade deals with China or India.
While Israel hailed a new era in its relations with the Arab world after the announcement of plans to normalize ties with Sudan, Palestinians described as a “new stab in the back”.
“The Palestinian Presidency stresses its condemnation and its rejection to normalization of ties with the state of the Israeli occupation, which occupies the land of Palestine,” said a statement published by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior member of Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Sudan’s move “represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause”.
The Palestinian Presidency said: “No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.”
Sudan, which is recovering from civil unrest and the civil war before that which led to South Sudan seceding from it, will be the fifth Arab country to have normal 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.
Netanyahu in a statement in Israel noted the symbolism of Sudan agreeing to set up relations with his country because after the Six-Day War with Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 the Arab countries declared in that country’s capital, Khartoum, that they would not negotiate or make peace with Israel or recognise it.
Saudi Arabia is reported to have helped Trump with his round of Middle East diplomacy, while itself staying in the background and not overtly setting up relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia and UAE have been major donors for Sudan recently.
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.
A joint US-Israel-Sudan statement issued by the White House said: “After decades of living under a brutal dictatorship, the people of Sudan are finally taking charge. The Sudanese transitional government has demonstrated its courage and commitment to combating terrorism, building its democratic institutions, and improving its relations with its neighbours.”
After Trump announced lifting of sanctions against Sudan for promoting terrorist activities under Al-Bashir, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the country had fulfilled the requirements for being taken off the terrorism-supporter list.
(With inputs from IANS)