Israel, Sudan agree on steps toward normalisation of ties, announcement expected Friday

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Sudan on Friday became the latest Arab nation to agree to recognise Israel in a diplomatic triumph for President Donald Trump announced days before USA elections.

Earlier this week the USA announced that it would strike Sudan from the blacklist in return for payment of $335 million in compensation for American victims of terror.

The money is meant for victims of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by the al-Qaeda network while its leader, Osama bin Laden, was living in Sudan.

U.S. President Donald Trump listens while on a phone call with leaders of Sudan and Israel, in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, on October 23, 2020.

The details of the Sudan-Israel agreement, coming just days before the November 3 election, were not immediately clear.

"The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations", the statement read.

Responding to a VOA question, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was present for the Oval Office announcement Friday, said the delisting and the normalization deal "both had one thing in common: They made sense for the Sudanese people".

The Palestinians say the recognitions amount to betrayal. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza, also condemned the agreement.

"This is very welcome news, and the Trump administration deserves tremendous credit for this diplomatic success", former US Senator Norm Coleman - RJC national chairman - said in a statement. Trump said Sudan had demonstrated its commitment in battling terrorism.

"This follows on Sudan's recent agreement to resolve certain claims of United States victims of terror and their families".

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There they adopted the Khartoum resolution, known for its "three no's" - no peace, no recognition and no negotiations with Israel.

"This statement contradicts the Sudanese national law. and contributes to the elimination of the peace project in the Middle East and to preparing for the ignition of a new war", al-Mahdi said in a letter to the conference. Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, hailed the start of a new era for his country's relations with the Arab world.

"Delegations from Sudan and Israel will meet soon to discuss cooperation in many fields, among them agriculture, trade and other important areas", he added. Sudan also is opening its skies to Israeli flights, which will shorten trips to Africa and South America, he said.

Sudan's prime minister Abdalla Hamdok had resisted relations with Israel, saying his transitional government did not have the authority to do so. Israel is now the only country in the Mideast to possess the cutting-edge fighter jets.

The removal of the terror designation opens the door for Sudan to get worldwide loans and aid needed to revive its battered economy and rescue the country's transition to democracy.

United States congressional legislation is needed to shield Khartoum from future legal claims over past attacks to ensure the flow of payments to the embassy bombing victims and their families.

In a separate statement, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) noted that the "Israel-Sudan agreement comes amidst a pivotal transition in Sudan as the country prepares for democratic elections in 2022, following last year's historic revolution overthrowing dictator Omar al-Bashir". Thousands have protested in the country's capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

Mr Trump announced the agreement by Sudan's year-old civilian-backed government moments after he formally moved to end the nation's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, achieving a major objective for Khartoum.

The Trump administration said under the new agreement, the USA would also work with Sudan to help ease its debt burden and become a part of the broader global community.

Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir sits at the defendant's cage during one of his trials at a courthouse in Khartoum on September 15.

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