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Trump announces Israel, Sudan peace deal and Sudan to be removed from US terror list

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on Monday, March 5, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
October 23, 2020

President Donald Trump on Friday announced Sudan would join the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel and announced his intent to remove Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terror, following its compensation to U.S. terror victims and their families.

Trump spoke about the agreement between Israel and Sudan at a press conference in the White House Oval Office, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joining by phone. Trump said, “Not only the deal was signed but it’s peace, so that’s official.”

On Thursday, Sudan also transferred $335 million to compensate U.S. victims and families of victims of terror attacks linked to Sudan and Trump informed Congress of his intent to formally rescind Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terror. The payment comes as compensation to victims of attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, victims of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole and the murder of USAID employee John Granville.

Announcing the deal, Trump said “at least five more” Arab countries were also interested in joining in the normalization of relations with Israel.

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Trump also tweeted, “HUGE win today for the United States and for peace in the world. Sudan has agreed to a peace and normalization agreement with Israel! With the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, that’s THREE Arab countries to have done so in only a matter of weeks. More will follow!”

Asked to describe how normalizing ties with Sudan affects Israel, Netanyahu said that since normalizing ties with the UAE, the first shipments of consumer goods from UAE had arrived in Israel and Israeli travelers can now travel more quickly through parts of the Arabian peninsula where before they had to fly indirectly around the peninsula for international travel. Netanyahu said he expects similarly commercial exchanges with Sudan as their normalization of relations goes forward. The initial focus of Israeli and Sudanese relations will focus on agriculture.

“Today represents a momentous step forward in the United States-Sudan bilateral relationship and marks a pivotal turning point for Sudan, allowing for a new future of collaboration and support for its ongoing and historic democratic transition,” the White House said in a Friday statement. “We commend the transitional government of Sudan for its work to chart a new course and stand ready to support the people of Sudan as they work to build a better future for themselves and future generations.”

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok tweeted, “Thanks to President @realdonaldtrump for signing today the executive order to remove Sudan from #SSTL. We’re working closely with the US Administration & Congress to conclude the SSTL removal process in a timely manner.
We work towards int’l relations that best serve our people.”

Trump, Netanyahu, Hamdok and Sudanese Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, released the following joint statement on the peace agreement:

President Donald J. Trump, Sudanese Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today to discuss Sudan’s historic progress towards democracy and opportunities to advance peace in the region.

After decades of living under a brutal dictatorship, the people of Sudan are finally taking charge.  The Sudanese transitional government has demonstrated its courage and commitment to combating terrorism, building its democratic institutions, and improving its relations with its neighbors.  In light of this historic progress, and following President Trump’s decision to remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the United States and Israel agreed to partner with Sudan in its new start and ensure that it is fully integrated into the international community.  The United States will take steps to restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity and to engage its international partners to reduce Sudan’s debt burdens, including advancing discussions on debt forgiveness consistent with the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.  The United States and Israel also committed to working with their partners to support the people of Sudan in strengthening their democracy, improving food security, countering terrorism and extremism, and tapping into their economic potential.

The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.  In addition, the leaders agreed to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.  The leaders also agreed that delegations will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements of cooperation in those areas as well as in agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas for the benefit of the two peoples.  The leaders also resolved to work together to build a better future and advance the cause of peace in the region.  This move will improve regional security and unlock new opportunities for the people of Sudan, Israel, the Middle East, and Africa.

This historic agreement is a testament to the bold and visionary approach of the four leaders.  Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chairman al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Hamdok expressed their appreciation for President Trump for his pragmatic and unique approach to ending old conflicts and building a future of peace and opportunity for all the people of the region.