Trump moves to end Sudan terror listing amid Israel ties push

Cheryl Sanders
October 23, 2020

Trump announced on Monday he would take Sudan off the terrorism list once it had deposited $335m it had pledged to pay in compensation. 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.

He said he hoped that Sudan would soon make the decision "to recognize Israel, the rightful Jewish homeland, to acknowledge their fundamental right to exist as a country".

Trump invited reporters into the Oval Office while he was on the phone with the leaders of Israel and Sudan.

Experts say Sudan's removal from the list is long overdue and if the country's newfound democratic project is to succeed, it needs all the access to worldwide assistance it can get.

Theyre also the same people who said that normalization with Israel in the Arab world would have to await the creation of a Palestinian state and that moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv would set the region aflame.

"What became apparent was that in order to capitalize on this momentous historic opportunity, it was necessary to suspend a component of the vision for peace", Berkowitz said, referencing Trump's plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which calls for 30 percent of the West Bank to be annexed by Israel. "Building a better future for all of us". The deal also is aimed at unifying Arab countries against their common adversary, Iran.

The Palestinians say the recognitions amount to betrayal, while Israel says the Palestinians have lost what they have seen as their "veto" over regional peace efforts.

A second official said the emerging deal would include Israeli aid and investment, particularly in technology and agriculture.

Until not very long ago, Sudan had one of the most risky and most despised governments on the planet. Thousands have protested in the country's capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

The funds will be used to compensate victims of the bombings on the USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the 2020 attack on the USS Cole and the murder of USAID employee John Granville who was killed in a gun attack in Khartoum in 2008.

Hamdok thanked Trump for the move to lift the designation. It would open the door for Sudan to get worldwide loans and aid needed to revive its battered economy and rescue the country's transition to democracy. The regime led by dictator Omar al-Bashir plunged that country into three decades of starvation and war, committed genocide in the Darfur region, and hosted terrorists like Al-Qaedas Osama bin Laden, in addition to Hezbollah and radical Palestinian groups. Yet his overthrow a year ago has surprisingly led to an attempt to transition Sudan to democracy.

The agreement was negotiated on the USA side by Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security aide Miguel Correa. A military-civilian government rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022. It is the third country in three months to do so, following the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. A signing ceremony was expected to be held at the White House in coming weeks, the officials said.

The statement asserts that Sudan's transitional government has "demonstrated its courage and commitment to combating terrorism, building its democratic institutions, and improving its relations with its neighbours".

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok thanked Mr Trump for removing his country from the United States terrorism list and said the Sudanese government was working "towards worldwide relations that best serve our people".

Israel had said it needed to maintain a military advantage over other states in the Middle East.

But Sudanese TV later said Sudan had in fact agreed to end the state of war with Israel and normalize ties.

The demands being made upon the Sudanese spring from the same instincts that led Trump to insist that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members pay more for their own defense, as well as his tough approach to Iran and his decision that once ISIS was largely defeated, the US need not continue to participate in the endless conflict in Syria.

Kushner called the normalisation deals the start of a "paradigm shift" in the Middle East.

Other reports by iNewsToday