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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/23/20

Sudan denies holding talks on normalization ties with Israel

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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The Sudanese Minister of Information and transitional government spokesman, Faisal Muhammad Saleh, Tuesday denied media reports saying that a Sudanese delegation currently visiting the United Arab Emirates had discussed normalizing relations with Israel.

"The ministerial delegation accompanying the head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, does not have the mandate to discuss normalizing relations with Israel," the minister said. "We do not have the mandate to take decisions in such matters, which are among the tasks of an elected government, and we are still at the same position."

The Axios website reported last week that US, Emirati and Sudanese officials would hold a "decisive" meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday "on a possible normalization agreement between Sudan and Israel", similar to the US-brokered deals struck by the UAE and Bahrain in recent weeks.

Axios said Sudan's transitional government - besides the terrorism delisting - is asking for "more than $3bn in humanitarian assistance and direct budgetary aid" in return for a deal with Israel.

Gramer and Colum Lynch have also reported in Foreign Affairs magazine that a deal could represent another foreign-policy victory for Trump less than two months before the presidential election.

"Securing the deal would represent another foreign-policy success for the Trump administration, which recently helped secure diplomatic normalization between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. But, despite backing from both sides of the aisle, it's not a done deal yet."

For months, U.S. lawmakers and diplomats have engaged in grueling behind-the-scenes negotiations with a fragile civilian-led government in Sudan to remove the country from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The designation harkens back more than two decades to a time Sudan was ruled by an authoritarian who helped al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden orchestrate deadly attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa. The designation turned Sudan into an international pariah and blocked the country from the international financial system, the Foreign Affairs said.

Now, following a revolution last year that ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir and established a civilian-led government, the Trump administration is looking to change that. In exchange , Khartoum would settle about $ 335 million worth of decades-old legal claims with the families of victims of terrorist attacks that Bashir's government abetted, including the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the deadly bombing in 2000 of the USS Cole in Yemen.

According to Axiom, the issue of normalization between Sudan and Israel was raised last week in a meeting in Washington between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Israel has been encouraging the Trump administration to adhere to Sudan's request for economic aid as part of any normalization deal.

The U.S. Senate needs to pass a bipartisan bill spearheaded by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) that will give Sudan immunity from future lawsuits in the U.S. and reinstate Sudan's status as a country that does not sponsor terrorism.

Pompeo is pressing both Republican and Democratic senators to support the bill and vote on it by mid-October. U.S. officials believe that a normalization agreement between Sudan and Israel will convince Congress to support such a bill, according to Axios.

 

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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