International

Middle East in transition: Israel and Sudan agree to normalize their relations – politics

With US intervention, long-standing enemies Sudan and Israel have announced in a historic step that they will make peace. The countries’ leaders have decided to normalize relations “and end the state of war between their nations,” a statement by the United States, Sudan and Israel distributed by the White House on Friday. This is a major breakthrough for the crisis nation of Sudan – and US President Donald Trump could score a foreign policy victory shortly before the US election on November 3.

Trump called the deal an “incredible deal for Israel and Sudan.” “Today’s peace deal will strengthen Israel’s security and end Sudan’s long isolation from the world,” he said over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of Sudan’s government Abdullah Hamduk. and the chairman of the country’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Burhan, for White House journalists.

Previously, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, brokered by Trump, had entered into similar historic agreements with Israel, as many Arab countries have no official relations with Israel. His critics also paid Trump respect for the mediation. The 74-year-old said that “many, many more” states would follow suit.

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For Sudan – which after years of autocratic rule is moving on a vulnerable path to democracy – this is an important breakthrough. The state in Northeast Africa, with a population of about 42 million, became increasingly isolated under authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for 30 years. US sanctions and the inclusion of the country on the notorious US list of state supporters of terrorists also contributed to this.

The isolation and secession of oil-rich South Sudan in 2011 brought Sudan’s economy to its knees – sparking massive protests and the overthrow of Al-Bashir in 2019. Despite some successes, the transitional government has so far failed to lead the country out of the economic crisis.

Since the military coup, Khartoum has therefore made efforts to improve relations with the international community – especially with the US. Also on Friday, the White House announced that Trump had informed Congress of his intention to remove Sudan from the US terrorist list. In return, Sudan had agreed to compensate American terrorist victims and their families. The payment of $ 335 million (about $ 300 million) by Sudan’s transitional government has been received, the White House said.

After being removed from the terrorist list, it should become easier for international companies and banks, among others, to do business in Sudan. It will also make it easier for Khartoum to regain access to aid from multilateral donor agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah condemned the deal

Sudan’s interim government has shown “courage and determination” to fight terrorism, build democratic institutions and improve relations with its neighbors, the US, Israel and Sudan announced. Netanyahu also called the deal with Sudan a “huge change”. “Today, we are still announcing a dramatic breakthrough towards peace, with another Arab country joining the circle of peace – this time with Sudan,” he said in a video message.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah strongly condemned the agreement. The Arab states have so far taken the approach of making a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians a precondition for normalizing relations with Israel. The Palestinians therefore feel betrayed by the recent agreements between Arab states and Israel. The ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip also called the agreement with Sudan a “political sin”. You are harming the Palestinians and their just cause, said spokesman Hasem Kassem.

Sudan expert Annette Weber of the Science and Politics Foundation warned that normalization of relations with Israel would weaken the Sudanese government: as the announcement is linked to the removal of the US terror list, this is likely seen as a sign that the government is under pressure from the US and did not act independently. The announcement becomes “a problem for the current government”. (dpa)

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