US President Donald Trump announced Friday that Israel and Sudan had agreed to normalize relations between them, in the third similar step by an Arab country within two months.
Trump, who is running in presidential elections after 11 days, praised “a great victory for peace in the world,” noting that at least five other Arab countries want to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, expecting Saudi Arabia to advance to normalization.
In Khartoum, a joint statement was issued by Sudan, the United States and Israel, transmitted by Sudanese state television, and in which it said, “The leaders (in the three countries) agreed to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel and end the state of hostility between them,” adding, “The leaders agreed to start economic and trade relations”.
White House spokesman Jude Derry tweeted, “President Trump announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalize relations between them, in a new big step towards peace in the Middle East”.
Trump, who has been facing a decline in his popularity for some time, according to opinion polls, said, “It is a huge victory for the United States and for peace in the world”.
“Sudan agreed to a peace agreement and normalization with Israel!
With the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, three countries in a few weeks, and other countries will follow”.
Journalists in the Oval Office attended a phone call between Donald Trump and officials in Israel and Sudan.
A government source in Khartoum confirmed that a phone call took place at 17:30 (15:30 GMT) between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and Sudanese Transitional Council Chairman Abdel Fattah al Burhan.
Netanyahu described the normalization of relations with Sudan as an “exceptional transformation”.
“What an extraordinary transformation,” he said in a statement written in Hebrew.
Today, Khartoum says yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and yes to normalization with Israel.
The Sudanese government source stated that the phone call occurred after Trump announced that Sudan would be withdrawn from the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism.
Shortly before the announcement of normalization, the White House announced that the US President would withdraw Sudan from the list of “states sponsoring terrorism”.
The White House said that the US President “informed Congress of his intention to formally withdraw from designating Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism,” describing the matter as a “very important moment” for Sudan and for relations between Khartoum and Washington.
The White House stated that the transitional authorities in Sudan paid an amount of $ 335 million as part of an agreement to compensate Americans, victims of attacks that occurred during President Omar al Bashir’s thirty-year rule.
The American judiciary ruled on Sudan to pay these compensations after the country was accused of supporting jihadists who blew up the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people and wounding about five thousand others.
Hamdok’s office said in a statement that the decision to remove Sudan from the US list of terrorism “opened the door wide for the return of Sudan owed to the international community, the global financial and banking system, and regional and international investments”.
It is clear that the reasons that pushed Sudan to accept an agreement to normalize relations with Israel lie in the miserable economic situation that it suffers from, which is closely related to the sanctions imposed by the United States on it.
However, it is feared that this announcement will destabilize the political agreement by which the transitional government is governed, as the voices of opposition have risen since the path of normalization became clear.
Among the most prominent opponents is the head of the Islamic Umma Party, Sadiq al Mahdi, who is considered one of the most prominent supporters of the government.
He has threatened to withdraw his support for the government if normalization takes place.
Sudan has been ruled for more than a year by a transitional government that is the fruit of an agreement between the military who overthrew Omar al Bashir in April 2019, and the leaders of the popular protest against him, which continued for months after his fall to demand civilian rule.
The transitional period is defined as three years, ending with the organization of free elections in 2022.
The transitional government is facing economic difficulties in light of a sharp decline in the value of the local currency (the Sudanese pound), which has increased the voices calling for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Washington since the 1990s.
Inflation in Sudan reached 167 percent in August.
The dollar value at the black market reached 75 pounds during the overthrow of Bashir, and today it reached two hundred.
Gilbert Ashkar, professor of international relations at London’s Soas University, told AFP that Khartoum’s signing of the normalization agreement with Israel “is much more important than the signing of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, because Sudan has never established relations with Israel, unlike the UAE, which has a large population.
Very, unlike the other Gulf countries.
In its first Palestinian reaction to the declaration, Hamas considered the normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan a “political sin”.
The Palestinian presidency affirmed “its condemnation and rejection of the normalization of relations with the Israeli occupation state that usurps the land of Palestine”.
On August 13, Trump announced an agreement to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel.
Less than a month later, he announced a similar agreement between Bahrain and Israel.
And steps are being taken to establish relations between the Hebrew state and each of the two Gulf states.
On Friday evening, Netanyahu announced that Israel would not object to the United States selling advanced American weapons to the UAE.
“Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the United Arab Emirates,” he said in a statement commenting on the visit of his government defense minister, Benny Gantz, to Washington this week to discuss selling such weapons to the UAE, including F-35s.