WASHINGTON – President Trump announced on Friday that Israel and Sudan have agreed to move towards normalizing relations, as part of a deal that began with opening up economic and trade ties.
But he appeared to stop before establishing full diplomatic relations, as Israel has planned with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in similar deals that Mr Trump helped negotiate, as he seeks to claim claims. foreign policy achievements ahead of the November 3 elections.
Sudan, by far the largest of the three Arab states in recent months to start normalizing relations with Israel, agreed to the arrangement just four days after the Trump administration said it would remove Sudan from the US list sponsor states of terrorism. This agreement was sent to Congress for final approval on Friday morning.
“The State of Israel and the Republic of the Sudan have agreed to make peace,” Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was holding a conference call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and civilian leaders and Sudanese military, Prime Minister Abdalla. Hamdok and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The deal will enable economic and trade relations between Israel and Sudan – a poor country in East Africa that only emerged from decades of dictatorship last year – by focusing first on agricultural products and financial assistance.
There was no mention in a joint statement from the three countries outlining the new agreement for Sudan and Israel to open embassies in their respective capitals, and a senior US administration official confirmed that this has not yet done. part of the discussions.
Seeking political credit ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Mr. Trump has promoted his efforts to expand Arab states normalization with Israel as a game-changing feat of diplomacy. He did not answer the question of whether the agreement amounted to full diplomatic normalization between Sudan and Israel.
The deal was expected after the United States said on Monday it would remove Sudan from the list of terrorist sponsor states, a step necessary for the East African nation to receive international support as its new transitional government is trying to emerge from decades of international isolation.
The Trump administration notified Congress on Friday that it would remove Sudan from the list, giving lawmakers until December to oppose it before it was finalized. A US official said no objections were expected, although Congress is questioning whether to grant Sudan legal immunity for any role that US courts may find it has played in the cases. terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Sudan has already agreed to pay the victims of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the destroyer Cole as part of its delisting from terrorism.
Lara Jakes reported from Washington, Declan Walsh from Nairobi and David M. Halbfinger from Jerusalem. Michael Crowley contributed reporting from Washington.