Israel and Sudan on Friday agreed to normalize relations in an agreement brokered with the help of the United States, making Sudan the third Arab country to have hosted hostilities with Israel in the past two months.
US President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the deal in a phone call on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior US officials said.
As part of the deal, Trump took steps to remove Sudan from a U.S. government list of countries that promote terrorism. A senior U.S. official said Trump signed a document on Air Force One Thursday night announcing to Congress that he intends to remove Sudan from the list.
“The leaders agreed on the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and on ending the war between their nations,” according to a joint statement from the three countries.
Sudan followed a path started by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in striking agreements aimed at normalizing relations with Israel.
The deal was negotiated on the U.S. side by Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Assistant Miguel Correa.
“This is obviously a big breakthrough,” Kushner told Reuters. “This will obviously create a major breakthrough peace between Israel and Sudan. Getting peace agreements is not as easy as we are making them look right now. They are very difficult to do.”
Initial focus on agricultural cooperation
It was expected that a signing ceremony would be held in the White House in the coming weeks, officials said.
The joint statement said leaders agreed to enter into economic and trade relations with an initial focus on agriculture.
Delegations from each country will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements on cooperation in these areas, as well as in agricultural technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas, the statement said.
The statement said Sudan’s transitional government had “demonstrated its courage and commitment to fight terrorism, build its democratic institutions and improve its relations with its neighbors.”
As a result, “the United States and Israel agreed to work with Sudan in its new start and ensure that it is fully integrated into the international community,” the statement said.
Kushner called the normalization about the beginning of a “paradigm shift” in the Middle East. He said Sudan’s decision was symbolically important because it was in Khartoum in 1967 that the Arab League decided not to recognize Israel’s right to exist.