Sudanese officials discuss normalization with Israel ahead of US deadline: Report

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Officials in Sudan are discussing plans to normalize relations with Israel after Washington gave Khartoum a deadline to respond in exchange for economic relief and eased sanctions, CNN reported Thursday.

Citing two senior Sudanese officials, CNN said that a meeting was taking place in Sudan after the US issued a 24-hour deadline to agree to peace with Israel.

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According to the report, Sudan would have its international debt reduced along with the potential to be removed from Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Aid worth approximately $600 million in food and medicine would be given to Sudan under the deal. Additionally, $3 billion in debt due to the US in the next fiscal year would be slashed, CNN reported.

The State Department referred questions to the White House. The White House did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Last month, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said his country did not want to link its removal from the US terrorism list to a deal with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he met with Sudanese Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan in February to begin the process of normalization.

Read more: Saudi Arabia has always envisioned normalization with Israel would happen: FM

And with a struggling economy trying to rebound from decades of sanctions due to former Islamist ruler Omar al-Bashir, Sudan desperately needs economic aid from the international community.

After the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace deals with Israel last month, US President Donald Trump said several Arab countries wanted to follow suit.

It was reported that Sudan, Oman and Morocco were closing in on such deals, but this has not happened.

On September 23, the US ambassador to the United Nations said another Arab country would sign a peace deal with Israel in the “next day or two.”

The comments came almost a month after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Khartoum and discussed peace with Israel.

The Trump administration has stepped up its efforts in recent months to warm ties between Tel Aviv and the Arab world, which have long been critical of Israel over the Palestinian cause.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom had always envisioned that normalization with Israel would happen.

“We have always envisioned that normalization [with Israel] would happen, but we also need to have a Palestinian state and a Palestinian-Israeli peace plan,” Prince Faisal said.

Read more: Sudan needs ‘deep’ debate before any Israel deal, says PM Hamdok

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