Trump announces that Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations

Sudan agrees to normalise relations with Israel, Trump says

Mauritania, an African Arab League member, recognised Israel in 2009 but severed ties 10 years later.

With reporters gathered in the Oval Office to mark the signing of a historic US-brokered peace deal between Israel and Sudan, the USA president asked Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on speakerphone, if Joe Biden could have secured such a deal. Facing fuel and food shortages and sky-high inflation, Sudan is desperate for worldwide assistance, humanitarian aid, and foreign investment, all of which have been stymied or outright blocked by US sanctions.

"This is another Israel quid pro quo driven by Trump's short-term political interests rather than the long-term safety and security of the United States and its allies, including Israel", Soifer said.

"It is a new world", Netanyahu said on the phone with reporters in the Oval Office. "We are co-operating with everyone".

Netanyahu has made it a priority to forge ties with formerly hostile countries in Africa and the Arab world in the absence of any progress with the Palestinians during his more than decade in office.

Donald Trump has expressed certainty that Iran will also join a "deal like this", adding that he is willing to help the Islamic Republic to do so.

Trump, who is trailing in the polls ahead of the November 3 vote, has used his leverage over Sudan to press for recognition of Israel.

"We have at least five more that want to come in and we'll have many more than that soon", Trump said in a room packed with aides, few of them wearing masks despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deal with Sudan will include aid and investment from Israel, particularly in technology and agriculture, along with further debt relief. Thousands have protested in the country's capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

Mr Trump said he "took a lot of abuse from people that were unable to make a deal for 40 years, and this has gone very quickly, very nicely, very inexpensively and with no blood".

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Earlier this week, Sudan's new government paid $335 million to the victims of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Hamdok thanked Trump for the move to lift the designation.

Experts say Sudan's removal from the list is long overdue and if the country's newfound democratic project is to succeed, it needs all the access to worldwide assistance it can get. Some Islamist politicians, sidelined after the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, said they expect to receive renewed public support.

Sudan has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria, which means it has been subject to restrictions on USA foreign assistance, including a ban on defense exports and sales.

Both the United States and Israel committed to building trade with Sudan, an impoverished, conflict-torn nation that had faced years of criticism over its violent internal campaigns until the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir last year. A military-civilian government rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022. A signing ceremony was expected to be held at the White House in coming weeks, the officials said. "Yesterday, in fulfillment of that agreement, the transitional government of Sudan transferred $335 million into an escrow account for these victims and their families", the statement said.

MK Ofir Akunis, who serves as Regional Cooperation Minister, said to Army Radio that he expected an announcement on Sudan - Israel normalization would happen before the US election.

The new agreement was negotiated on the US side by a team that included Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who called the normalization deals the start of a "paradigm shift" in the Middle East.

Palestinian leaders have long asked Arab countries not to establish ties with Israel until a mutual peace is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump signed the document to remove Sudan from the list while flying on Air Force One on Thursday night following the final presidential debate, according to a senior USA official.

Unmentioned in the joint statement was that Sudan has agreed, according to the senior US official, to designate Lebanon's Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, something that Israel has long sought from its neighbours and others in the global community.

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