Sudan has been working hard to remove it from the US list of national sponsors of terrorism, which has allowed the country to enter the international banking system for nearly 30 years. In the talks held in Abu Dhabi last week, US officials proposed normalizing relations with Israel as part of a new way to get rid of the list.
According to two Sudanese officials with knowledge of the negotiations, part of the reason for their faltering is that the Sudanese negotiators worry that if there is not a large enough economic relief plan to boost the agreement, the emergency recognition of Israel may make the people support Sudan. The unstable, elected transitional government. Last year, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the country̵
These officials discussed the negotiations freely under the condition of anonymity. They said that the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, which presided over the negotiations, jointly provided less than US$1 billion in funding, most of which was used for fuel credits and promised investments. Instead of hard cash, Sudan desperately needs its currency to free fall and inflation to surge.
Sudanese negotiators hope to at least double it in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel.
The State Council declined to comment on the meeting. Israeli officials also declined to comment on the negotiations.
As Sudan’s influence in the Arab world has weakened, reaching a normalization agreement with Khartoum is less rewarding for the United States or Israel than having a regional power such as Saudi Arabia. However, this symbolism will be very rich: throughout the Bashir era, Sudan and Israel were sworn enemies, and pro-Palestinian sentiment has been deeply rooted in Sudanese society.
Bashir provided funds and weapons to the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas and other organizations, which in turn led Israel to lobby the United States to include it on its list of countries that finance terrorism. Osama bin Laden, who leads al-Qaeda, has also lived and operated openly in Sudan for many years.
When the Trump administration introduced the normalization of relations with Israel as part of the equation, these processes were proceeding slowly.
“The removal of Sudan from the terrorist list and the normalization of Israel are purely blackmail,” said one of the two Sudanese government officials, a senior official of the civilian government. “The U.S. government may undermine the transitional government.”
Like the United States, Israel is a sensitive emotional issue in Sudan. When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan in September, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok rejected the secretary’s request to urge recognition of Israel, saying that his un-elected civilian government was in such a difficult situation. Lack of authorization on the issue.
“After the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed the agreement, everything in Sudan has changed,” said Cameron Hudson, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former chief of staff of the State Department’s special envoy to Sudan. “So far, it has been a fairly orderly process for Sudan to get rid of the terrorist list. This process has been delineated, and Sudan has been demanding hard.”
Hudson said: “The normalization of relations with Israel is a highly controversial move, and Sudan’s domestic political mainstream has not yet fully debated this.” “It is not against the United States, this is not a topic of public debate.“
The State Department controls the fate of Sudan.
Pompeo has the right to remove Sudan from the list of terrorism and may release billions of dollars in international funds without the approval of Congress. Sudanese negotiators want more than just withdraw from the Israeli deal, but they argue that Sudan needs at least US$2 billion (if not more) to prevent the impending economic collapse.
“The Sudanese are caught in the trap of overestimating their value without realizing that it is only important for them to get them off the SST list,” said a US official with knowledge of the negotiations, who was sensitive to sensitive diplomacy on the condition of anonymity. Officer commented. discuss. “They are likely to miss the window to close the deal and find themselves facing more demanding conditions.”
Hamdok, an economist and leader of the Sudanese civil government, who shares power with the Military Council, has put his credibility on a bet on the promise of removing Sudan from the terrorist list and preventing economic collapse . However, the normalization of relations with Israel may threaten other progress he has made, such as the signing of a historic peace agreement with the rebel leader who has been in prolonged conflict with the Bashir regime.
“I think that if there is no consensus, the Israeli issue cannot be resolved,” said Yasser Alman, deputy secretary-general of the People’s Liberation Movement in Northern Sudan, which signed a peace agreement with Khartoum in September. “This may create a gap between the transitional government and the public. We are seeking legitimate discussions based on Sudan’s interests without any polarization or accusations.“
Before the UAE and Bahrain changed their positions recently, only Jordan and Egypt in the Arab world had open ties with Israel. Past attempts to get other countries to do this have failed.
“No one wants to repeat the Israeli-Lebanese peace agreement signed by the Israeli government in 1983 without universal legitimacy, which collapsed in less than a year,” Peyton Noves of the American Institute of Peace And Jeffrey Feitman of the Brookings Institution wrote in a report last week.
Even if a normalization agreement is reached, Sudan’s international relations will have to return to normal. There is another obstacle: the democratic leaders of the US Congress are insisting on legislation to restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity, which protects the government from civil litigation. Legal doctrines such as compensation for 9/11 victims or criminal prosecution. When Sudan was included in the US list of sponsors of terrorism, Sudan lost this immunity.
At present, officials in Khartoum and Washington are still skeptical of any agreement reached before the US election, which means that Sudan may stay on the list for several months. For those struggling to get rid of this distinction in Sudan, the stalled negotiations are a major setback.
Ihab Osman, chairman of the U.S. Sudanese Business Council, said: “The new Sudanese government has worked hard to meet the delisting requirements and has made more efforts in many aspects. “There is no doubt that the Sudanese government has Fundamental changes have taken place and we are seeking to become a responsible and reliable regional partner in the global society. “
Bearak reports from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mohieddin reports from Khartoum. John Hudson in Washington and Ruth Eglash in Jerusalem contributed to this report.