President Trump on Friday announced Sudan and Israel under the U.S. brokered deal will “end the state of belligerence” between the two nations and start the process of normalizing ties, becoming the third Arab nation in less than three months to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
“HUGE win today for the United States and for peace in the world. Sudan has agreed to a peace and normalization agreement with Israel!” Trump tweeted. “With the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, that’s THREE Arab countries to have done so in only a matter of weeks. More will follow!”
HUGE win today for the United States and for peace in the world. Sudan has agreed to a peace and normalization agreement with Israel! With the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, that’s THREE Arab countries to have done so in only a matter of weeks. More will follow! pic.twitter.com/UHB8H6oaZc— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2020
It is another foreign policy achievement for Trump just a week and a half before Election Day. Previously, Trump helped brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August and Bahrain in September — after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.
Trump held a joint phone call from the Oval Office Friday afternoon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sudan’s Chairman of the Sovereignty Council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
“The State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan, have agreed to make peace,” Trump said. “This is for many, many years they’ve been at odds, to put it nicely, and to normalize their relations. This will be the third country where we’re doing this. And we have many, many more coming.”
“This historic deal comes just a few weeks after the groundbreaking agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. And Israel and Bahrain,” Trump added. “Three months ago, no one thought this would be possible. Even Bibi didn’t know if this was going to be possible. Bibi, right? But now multiple Arab countries have made peace with Israel. And again, we have many lined up. They want to come in. They want to get the deal done. They all see it.”
The joint statement published by the White House said that both Netanyahu and Sudanese leaders have agreed to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture. They also agreed that delegations will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements of cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture technology, aviation, and migration.
Earlier this week, Trump sent a notice to Congress that he intends to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, following Khartoum’s delivery of $335 million in compensation to American terror victims. Sudan has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, and as a result, faced a series of restrictions including a ban on defense exports and sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance.
“GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “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!”
Prior to announcing the deal, Trump signed an order with the notice to Congress to move the lift of designation and for such legislation to pass before the $335 million can be paid out. Congress does have the ability to overturn the President’s decision to remove the designation, but only if both the House and Senate pass veto-proof joint resolutions of disapproval within 45 days.
“It is essential that Congress act now to pass the legislation required to ensure that the American people rapidly realize the full benefits of this policy breakthrough,” the White House said in its statement.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are supportive of Sudan’s transitional government and are unlikely to block the removal of Sudan’s terrorism designation.
The normalization deal is important compared to the first two recent deals Trump made with the UAE and Bahrain because there was a state of belligerency between Israel and Sudan for years. For decades, there has been deep animosity and military confrontations between these two countries, with Sudan, hosted a Hamas headquarters in Khartoum for years, and had a military and political alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.
In 1967, Khartoum was the location of the Arab League meeting that declared in a resolution the historic “three no’s” on Israel — no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer congratulated Sudan on Friday by referencing the 1967 resolution.
“From 3 NO’s to 3 YES’s: In 1967, the Arab world infamously declared in Sudan’s capital no recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel. Today, Sudan joins the UAE and Bahrain as the 3rd Arab country to make peace with Israel in 2020,” Dermer wrote on Twitter.
Sudan agreed to recognize Israel following promises by the Trump administration to deliver significant humanitarian assistance, including food, medicine and debt relief, and “considerable investments” from the American private sector.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office issued a statement rejecting the deal, calling it contradicts the positions of the Arab League and the Arab Peace Initiative.
“No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and cause. The path to a comprehensive and just peace must lead to an end to the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine,” Abbas’s office statement said.
Several other Arab countries are also weighing normalization, but are likely waiting to see if Trump wins re-election to make any future Arab-Israeli a reality. A win for Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden will see talks amongst Arab nations disappear as many remember his tenure as Vice President saw the Middle East in turmoil.