US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Israel and Sudan have decided to normalize relations. He added that many more such deals are to be expected in the Middle East. This announcement serves as a foreign policy accomplishment for the president who is seeking re-election in the presidential polls coming up in less than two weeks.
Trump who was joined by reporters at the Oval Office made the announcement while on the phone with top leaders from both countries. They are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan, and Sudan’s Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
In a joint statement by the three countries, leaders of Israel and Sudan agreed to relations to be normalized between both countries, as well as ending the state of hostility between them. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed that delegates from the two countries will be meeting soon to commence discussions on collaborations in various aspects, such as trade and agriculture.
The normalization agreement has however been criticized by some Palestinian leaders and militant groups in Gaza. One of them called it a “serious stab in the back of the Palestinian and Sudanese people.” Speaking with state TV on Friday, Sudanese acting foreign minister, Omar Gamareldin, said that Sudan’s legislative council will have to give approval for the normalization agreement.
President Trump stated that Sudan had shown a commitment to fight terrorism. He said Friday is a remarkable day in Sudan’s history, adding that Sudan and Israel have been at war for many years. Trump also revealed that not less than five other countries desired peace deals with Israel.
The peace deal on Friday would certainly improve Sudan’s engagement with the United States. It follows the US president’s conditional arrangement this week of removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list if it compensates American terror attack victims.
Announcing the deal in a ceremony, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that American terror attack victims are to receive a compensation of $335 million from Sudan. He said the money would be used to compensate victims of the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which was carried out in 1998 by the al-Qaida network, as at the time Osama Bin Laden was resident in Sudan. According to Trump, as soon as the funds are sent, he would take off Sudan from the terrorism list.
Trump is optimistic that the deal will improve Israel’s security while ending Sudan’s segregation from the world. Removing Sudan from the list and freeing it from the terror designation paves the way for it to access international aid and loans required to resuscitate its battered economy in addition to rescuing its transition to democracy.
Sudan is on a delicate route to achieving democracy after a popular revolt last year made the military to overthrow its longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir. Currently, the country is ruled by a military-civilian government, with possible elections planned for late 2022.