Israel and Sudan agree to normalise relations in latest foreign policy win for Donald Trump

James Rothwell
·2-min read
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about a Sudan-Israel peace agreement, in the Oval Office  - Getty/ Will McNamee
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about a Sudan-Israel peace agreement, in the Oval Office - Getty/ Will McNamee

President Donald Trump last night announced that Sudan will normalise relations with Israel, becoming the third Arab country to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state in the past two months.

The agreement was finalised during a phone call on Friday with Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Trump, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

"The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations," the three countries said in a joint statement. 

It is understood that Sudan's commitment to pay $335m (£257m) in compensation to American victims of terror attacks was a key factor in securing the accord, and one that will remove the North African state from the US terror sponsor's blacklist. 

The deal marks the latest foreign policy victory for Mr Trump as he prepares for elections in November, following similar agreements over the summer with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

Those deals, known as the Abraham Accords, were signed on the lawn of the White Housing during a lavish ceremony and have already led to a series of trade deals in the tourism, tech and aviation sectors. 

Mr Hamdok hopes the deal will help Sudan rejoin the world stage, foster stronger links with powerful Western countries and secure access to international aid. 

It also opens the door to direct flights between Karthoum and Tel Aviv, as well as a new market for the country's economy, which lies in tatters following a popular uprising in April 2019. 

The agreement was negotiated on the American side by Mr Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security official Miguel Correa.

"This is obviously a great breakthrough," Mr Kushner told Reuters. "This is obviously going to create a big breakthrough peace between Israel and Sudan. Getting peace agreements done are not as easy as we are making them look right now. They are very hard to do."

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

As a result, "the United States and Israel agreed to partner with Sudan in its new start and ensure that it is fully integrated into the international community," the statement said.

Kushner called the normalization deals the start of a "paradigm shift" in the Middle East. He said Sudan's decision was symbolically significant because it was in Khartoum in 1967 that the Arab League decided not to recognize Israel's right to exist.