04 Dec, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the United States will remove Sudan from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, paving the way for the African nation to normalize ties with Israel.

“GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!” tweeted Trump.

The push by the Trump administration for official diplomatic ties between Israel and Sudan comes in the wake of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalizing ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords. The Sudanese interim government reportedly has been divided over possibly following along those lines.

According to the Sudans Post, a senior government official from the country’s foreign ministry said that Trump gave Khartoum between October 14, and midnight October 15 earlier this week to decide if they want to normalize ties with Israel before taking them off a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“The government has agreed to normalize with Israel and we are going to inform the United States of this decision anytime from now,” the senior government official close to Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told Sudans Post. “In return, there are things that the United States is going to fulfill before we go for talks with our Israeli counterparts.”

Brussels, Belgium. 11th Nov. 2019. European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini welcomes the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hambok prior to their bilateral meeting at the EU headquarters. (Shutterstock)

Sudan cannot receive foreign aid until it is removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, which it has been on since 1993 for allegedly granting refuge and assistance to the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists.

The Sudanese military overthrew the 10-year dictatorship of former leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A mixed military-civilian government currently rules the country until possible elections in 2022.

Sudan, an Arab-Muslim-majority country that borders Egypt to the south, has long been viewed as a hostile nation towards the Jewish state. However, the new government, keen on reforming the economy and expand international investment, sees friendlier ties with Israel as a step in improving relations with the United States. Sudan’s western neighbor, Chad, established ties with Israel in 2019, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, also has diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

American courts have ruled that Sudan aided and abetted Al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000. The $335 million would be to compensate the victims of the attacks.