World Media

Trump, Netanyahu and Sudan Leaders Discuss Terror List, Commercial Ties

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address the media at the Chancellery in Berlin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday lauded the US-brokered normalisation of relations with Sudan while Palestinian Islamists Hamas lamented what they called a "political sin".

Mr Trump said he "took a lot of abuse from people that were unable to make a deal for 40 years, and this has gone very quickly, very nicely, very inexpensively and with no blood". "We recall with deep appreciation in 1979 when there was such a virulent reaction to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Sudan was one of only two Arab states that stood with Egypt and supported its courageous decision".

Egypt, the first country to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1979, was one of the few other Arab countries to publicly praise the Israel-Sudan deal. He has dangled the removal from the terror list in front of the Khartoum government, while also negotiating a settlement of claims against the nation from victims of terrorism for which Sudan had responsibility such as the 1998 Al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Somalia, and the assault in 2000 on the U.S. Navy destroyer United States Ship Cole.

Sudan has remained on the United States terror sponsors list since 1993, although the previous government of President Omar al-Bashir began cooperating with Washington on counterterrorism almost two decades ago.

The Sudan-Israel agreement earned high praise from Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sudan's civilian-led government had earned removal from the list and that it is in USA interests to help support the relatively new government succeed.

Bashir was ousted a year ago and replaced by a transition government, which faces serious economic difficulties with a sharp depreciation of the Sudanese pound.

Recently, the United States brokered diplomatic pacts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Jewish groups lauded the normalization of ties between Israel and Sudan.

"The leaders also agreed that delegations would 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".

With less than two weeks until the USA election, the administration is touting the deal as another foreign policy win. They sought to balance the White House desire to notch another diplomatic victory in the run-up to the vote and Sudan's reported desire not to be seen as capitulating in exchange for favors from Washington.

"Normalisation with Israel is a move that is rejected".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed it as a "new era" for the region, but the Palestinian leadership, watching as more of their Arab brethren appear to give their quest for statehood a lower priority, called it a "new stab in the back". "It is not the transitional government's role to take this kind of decision".

In Khartoum, a government source said that the call involved Trump, Hamdok, Netanyahu and Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

"After decades of living under a brutal dictatorship, the people of Sudan are finally taking charge", said a joint statement issued by the three countries.

"Today represents a momentous step forward in the United States-Sudan bilateral relationship and marks a pivotal turning point for Sudan, allowing for a new future of collaboration and support for its ongoing and historic democratic transition", she said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has fiercely opposed the spreading rapprochement between its regional allies and Israel, reacted to the Sudan development with equal displeasure.

Unmentioned in the joint statement was that Sudan has agreed, according to the senior USA official, to designate Lebanon's Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, something that Israel has long sought from its neighbors and others in the worldwide community.

"Sudan has agreed to a peace and normalisation agreement with Israel!".

Sudan's sovereign council announced the terror list removal on social media Friday afternoon in Khartoum.

Senior government sources in Sudan told CNN earlier this week that the state sponsor of terrorism designation change was a requirement by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the leader of the transitional government in Sudan, before talks on normalization could proceed.

On Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement saying the president had informed Congress of his intent.