US Asks Sudan to Normalize Ties with Israel in Return for Coming Off Terror List
Saturday, 26 September 2020 8:49 AM
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses for a picture with Sudan’s Sovereign Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Khartoum, Sudan, on August 25, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
The United States is pressing Sudan to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in return for removal of the Northeast African country from a US list of states that sponsor terrorism.
Three Sudanese government officials familiar with the matter, however, told Reuters news agency on Thursday that Khartoum is resisting the linkage of the two issues.
“Sudan has completed all the necessary conditions” an official said on condition of anonymity. “We expect to be removed from the list soon.”
Back in 1993, the US designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, cutting it off from financial markets and strangling its economy over allegations that the government of former longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was supporting “terrorism.”
Sudan’s interim government took power last year after Bashir was overthrown by the army following mass popular protests. It is set to remain in office until elections in 2022.
Sudan is apparently prepared to join the UAE and Bahrain in normalizing relations with the Israeli regime in return for over $3 billion in economic aid, a new report reveals.
Sudanese officials argue that their country’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is now undeserved as Bashir's regime has been toppled, and Sudan has cooperated with the US on counter-terrorism ever since.
Earlier this week, US officials indicated during talks with Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, that they want Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in establishment of ties with the Tel Aviv regime.
“Sudan made clear to the American side that there is no relationship between removing Sudan from the terror list and exploring relations with Israel,” another Sudanese government source stated.
Even if a normalization deal is struck between Sudan and Israel, the US Congress must still pass a necessary legislation to restore Sudan's sovereign immunity.
Sudan wants the legislation passed before it reaches a $335 million financial settlement with victims of al-Qaeda terror attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Sudan's lawyers in the United States said it had already paid an additional $72 million to victims of the families of 17 US sailors, who were killed during an attack on the USS Cole while it was docked in Yemen’s Aden Port in 2000. The attack was apparently sponsored by slain al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden who was living in Sudan prior to the attack.
Sudan’s premier dashes Pompeo’s hopes for quick normalization with Israel, saying his transitional government has no mandate to do so.
“We want to ensure the passing of the immunity law so that we can put an end to the settlements matter,” a Sudanese official said.
In February, Sudan's ruling council head Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda, sparking anger among politicians and public at home, where anti-Israel and pro-Palestine sentiments run high.
Sudan has been widely tipped to be the next Arab country that would normalize ties with Israel after the UAE and Bahrain agreed to do so as part of US-brokered agreements.
Netanyahu signed agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump at the White House on September 15.
Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital view the deals as betrayal of their cause.
Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers arrive at the White House alongside the Israeli prime minister to sign controversial normalization deals with Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas protested the normalization deals with Israel, saying they will be fruitless as long as the United States and the Israeli regime do not recognize the rights of the Palestinian nation and refuse to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees.
Kuwait reiterates unswerving support for Palestinian cause, nation
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid Al Sabah highlighted on Friday that his country firmly supports Palestinians in their struggle to achieve their inalienable rights and to establish an independent sovereign state with Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
Addressing the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sabah emphasized that “the Palestinian cause still has a central, historical and pivotal place in our Arab and Muslim worlds.”
He noted that Kuwait's principled and firm position is to support the Palestinian people in their struggle to obtain their legitimate rights.
Nearly a dozen Kuwaiti political factions reject Trump’s claim that the country is ready to normalize ties with the Israeli regime.
The Kuwaiti prime minister then underscored the significance of resumption of so-called peace negotiations between Palestinians and the Israeli regime, stating that the talks should bring an end to the Israeli occupation and lead to creation of an independent Palestinian state on the borders before June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
Separately, Bahraini regime forces have arrested a literary figure after he criticized the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom’s normalization with the Israeli regime.
Bahraini activists said the forces arrested the poet Abdul Hussein Ahmed Ali, days after he published a poem in condemnation of the deal, the Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.
“I am not flattering to those who speak this day ... Let them hear my words far and wide … Bahrainis are proud, honorable and noble, and do not accept the pledge of allegiance to a criminal and a perpetrator,” a part of the poem read.