Sudan’s PM rebuffs tying Israel relations with removal from US terrorism list

Abdalla Hamdok tells a conference in Khartoum that normalizing with the Jewish state requires ‘a deep discussion in society,’ Reuters reports

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019. (AP Photo, File)
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019. (AP Photo, File)

Sudan has rejected the notion of conditioning its removal from a US terror list on normalization of relations with Israel, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Saturday, according to a report by Reuters.

According to Reuters, Hamdok said at a conference in Khartoum that he had stressed this point to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit last month.

Normalization, he said, required “a deep discussion [in Sudan’s] society.”

The US is pushing Sudan to normalize ties with Israel and follow the lead of the UAE and Bahrain, in exchange for a commitment of financial aid and its removal from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terror, which prevents it from receiving foreign funding.

US-Sudanese negotiations held in the UAE earlier this week on normalizing relations with Washington and Israel ended Wednesday without a breakthrough, Axios reported.

The head of the Sudanese delegation, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, told the site talks were “useful and constructive,” but did not give estimates as to what could be expected going forward.

Hamdok previously said that he is unable to currently normalize ties with Israel, noting that the country’s government is a transitional one. The transition period is slated to end in 2022.

Sudan, in exchange for a deal with Israel, is reportedly asking for oil and wheat shipments worth $1.2 billion to cope with recent devastating floods, a $2 billion grant to deal with Sudan’s economic crisis and a commitment of economic support from the US and the UAE over the next three years, according to a report from the Walla news site.

Israeli officials have long expressed a wish for better relations with Khartoum, citing its importance in the region as well as its geographic location.

The nation was the birthplace of the Arab League’s 1967 policy refusing negotiations or normalization with Israel, but in recent years it has seemingly softened its stance, moving out of Iran’s sphere of influence as it has desperately sought the removal of US sanctions as a supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terror groups.

The foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain signed the so-called Abraham Accords in a White House ceremony with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on September 15. The only Arab states Israel previously had official ties with were Egypt and Jordan.

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