Israel and Sudan agreed on Friday to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Sudan the third Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months, Anadolu News Agency reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump's aides have been pressing Sudan to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, following similar U.S.-brokered moves in recent weeks by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
Trump has told the U.S. Congress he will rescind Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, the White House said Friday after Sudan transferred $335 million into an account for victims and their families. Last month, Sudanese officials discussed its removal from the U.S. terrorism list in the UAE in return for the recognition of Israel, it was reported earlier.
Sudan's transitional government, in charge since the toppling of President Omar al-Bashir last year, has been pushing to get off the U.S. list, which hinders its ability to access foreign loans to tackle an economic crisis.
According to a joint statement released by Israel, Sudan and the U.S., the two countries will "end the state of belligerence between their nations."
The statement also noted that the countries will "begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture." In the coming weeks, the statement says, they will meet to discuss "agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas."
"After decades of living under a brutal dictatorship, the people of Sudan are finally taking charge," said the joint statement released by the White House on Friday. "The Sudanese transitional government has demonstrated its courage and commitment to combating terrorism, building its democratic institutions, and improving its relations with its neighbors."
The Trump administration's brokering of the deals as it works toward a Middle East peace deal has earned the commander-in-chief multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominations, the New York Post said Friday. Last month, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament and chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, submitted the nomination. "For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees," Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have in recent weeks launched fast tracks to open up diplomatic affairs, trade and tourism with Israel, but Sudan is especially significant because it is by far the largest of the three countries, in land mass and in population, Jewish Telegraph Agency said adding: It is also symbolically significant because its capital, Khartoum, is where the Arab League met in 1967 after the Six-Day War and issued its "three no's" to reject any engagement with Israel whatsoever and to continue the state of war.
Israeli deal with Sudan was a new setback for the Palestinians, who have long counted on the Arab world to press Israel to make concessions to them as a condition for normalization. That wall of Arab support had long served as one of the Palestinians' few points of leverage against Israel.
The deal, which comes less than two weeks before the U.S. election, has been carefully coordinated between the three countries in recent days. They sought to balance the White House's desire to notch another diplomatic victory in the run-up to the vote and Sudan's reported desire not to be seen as capitulating in exchange for favors from Washington, according to Washington Post.