President Donald Trump announced Friday that Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalize relations — a foreign policy achievement for the incumbent president less than two weeks before the US presidential election.
“President @realDonaldTrump has announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to the normalization of relations— another major step toward building peace in the Middle East with another nation joining the Abraham Accords,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said on Twitter.
Trump’s announcement came shortly after the White House said he had informed Congress of his intent to remove Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list. The rescission of the 27-year old designation was widely seen as being tied to the deal with Israel.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that the formal notification to Congress “follows on Sudan’s recent agreement to resolve certain claims of United States victims of terror and their families.” Sudan agreed to settle with survivors and families of victims of the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 2008 murder of USAID employee John Granville in Khartoum.
“Yesterday, in fulfillment of that agreement, the transitional government of Sudan transferred $335 million into an escrow account for these victims and their families,” she said.
“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.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the leader of the transitional government in Sudan, thanked Trump for the move to lift the designation.
“We’re working closely with the US Administration & Congress to conclude the (state sponsor of terrorism list) removal process in a timely manner,” he wrote on Twitter Friday. “We work towards int’l relations that best serve our people.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.