In call with Israel and Sudan, Trump announces next normalization agreement

October 25, 2020 by JNS
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Sudan has agreed to normalize ties with Israel and “agreed to make peace,” announced U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration in the Oval Office of the White House as Sudan agrees to normalize relations with Israel. Credit: Michael Crowley/The New York Times for White House/POOL.

The move follows the White House announcement that Trump has informed Congress of his intent to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, following Khartoum’s agreement to pay $335 million in compensation to victims of the Al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000—attacks that American courts have ruled Sudan aided and abetted.

“We are expanding the circle of peace so rapidly. … This truly changes the region. It changes the lives of all our people for the better,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Trump by phone on Friday as Trump was surrounded by administration members, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

Also on the phone was Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Kushner said the agreement will help reduce extremism, terrorism and anti-Semitism, noting that “these peace agreements are not as easy as President Trump and his team are making them look,” he said.

A joint statement by the three nations “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,” continued the statement. “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.”

It also stated that they “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.”

Sudan follows the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized ties with Israel through signing the Abraham Accords on Sept. 15 in a White House ceremony. The two Gulf states were the first to normalize relations with the Jewish state. Jordan and Egypt made peace with Israel in 1994 and 1979, respectively.

Sudan cannot receive foreign aid until it is removed from the U.S. list of terrorism list, 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. Its rejection of Israel was made famous with the 1967 Khartoum Resolution, issued at the conclusion of the Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War and declaring the “Three Nos”: no peace, no recognition, no negotiations.

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 neighbour, 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.

In Australia, the Zionist Federation of Australia welcomed the announcement of the normalisation of relations between Israel and Sudan, and salutes their leaders, as well as the important role played by the United States.

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said, “We are living through an extraordinary period of history. Israeli–Sudanese normalisation is not only welcome in and of itself, but is extremely important as a symbol. The spirit of our times is a new ‘Khartoum Resolution’: yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to negotiations with it. The wind of change is sweeping the region, and all who harness its potential deserve congratulations.”

Mr Leibler continued, “Peace is possible not only because of Israel’s economic and defensive strength but also because of its strong identity—its unwavering commitment to be a Jewish and democratic state eager to live at peace with all of its neighbours. The fact that Arab states are turning their backs on the failed ideologies of the past, to embrace new futures that are good for their people and for the region is something all peace-loving people should applaud.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council commented: “This is further, substantial evidence that there is a genuine change of heart bringing about a trend of Arab leaders preferring peace to hostility in the interests of their own countries, the region and beyond.

The Israel-Sudan agreement comes as Sudan transitions away from the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and towards a participatory democracy. This is a real sign Sudan’s interim leadership prefers cooperation to conflict.

It’s clear that since the Sudanese people’s brave uprising and overthrow of a dictatorship which had become increasingly Islamist and hostile to the West, Sudan has committed itself to religious pluralism in the country, has extended a welcome to the Jewish and Christian populations that fled under the terror of the dictatorship and introduced a series of social reforms.

We look forward to doing whatever we can to support this peace agreement and we look forward to more Arab League and Muslim majority countries also opting for peace and normalisation over continued conflict.”

JNS/J-Wire

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