Following President Donald Trump’s decision to remove Sudan from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism, Khartoum’s foreign ministry has revealed plans to begin talks with Israel. This is aimed at implementing a normalisation pact that could open doors for economic aid and investment.
The announcement, which was made on Sunday, September 25, comes weeks after similar moves by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain to finalize a deal with Israel. The two Gulf states became the first in the Middle East to recognise Israel in 26 years.
According to the ministry, Sudanese and Israeli delegations would meet in the coming weeks to negotiate deals for agriculture, aviation, trade, and migration. Negotiations will involve an agreement between both countries to cooperate on trade and migration issues, a step towards creating a relationship after decades of hostilities.
A tweet made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel for its part will send wheat worth $5 million to “our new friends of Sudan.” The state news agency SUNA, also reported that Sudan has received its first batch of wheat of a grant from the UAE, amounting to 67,000 tonnes, to be allocated to mills in Khartoum and other states.
Prominent political factions in Sudan have however rejected the accord, saying it should be approved by a transitional parliament that is yet to be formed over a year after the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Since the removal of Bashir, Sudan has been governed under a power-sharing deal between the military officers and civilians. This makes the normalisation deal a sensitive one as the country was once considered a hardline critic of Israel, thereby creating a clash between the council, experts say. It remains unclear when the assembly will be constituted as part of the transition towards free elections.