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Sudan to sign Israel normalisation agreement 'within days': reports

Dagalo has expressed support for normalisation with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 October, 2020

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Just hours after US President Donald Trump announced plans to remove Sudan from the terror blacklist, Israeli reports claimed Khartoum is due to normalise relations with Tel Aviv.
Sudan is due to sign a peace agreement with Israel in the coming days, Israeli media reports claimed.

Khartoum’s normalisation with Israel is expected in just a few days, Channel 7 reported on Tuesday, just hours after US President Donald Trump announced he was ready to remove Sudan from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.

The Trump administration, seeing leverage as it eyed removing the designation, has leaned on Sudan to normalise relations with Israel, following the lead last month of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

With US elections in two weeks, another landmark Arab recognition of Israel would be hailed by Trump's evangelical Christian base, which staunchly backs the Jewish state.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue in August on the first visit in 15 years by the top US diplomat to Khartoum.

But Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok demurred on the controversial step, saying the transitional government did not have authority to normalise with Israel.

Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in February held a landmark meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda.

Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the council's vice-president and a paramilitary commander, has been blunt in his support.

"Israel is a developed country... for our development, we need Israel," he said.

On 13 August, Israel and the UAE announced they would normalise relations, with Bahrain soon following suit.

The agreements, dubbed the Abraham Accords, were signed in the White House on 15 September, with US President Donald Trump suggesting similar moves are expected to be taken by other Arab states.

Since then, speculation has pointed to a handful of other Arab countries, with Oman and Sudan as the most likely candidates.

Read also: Sudanese businessman organises 'ice-breaker' Israel trip

The Palestinians have been vocal in their opposition to the agreements, arguing that such decisions remove any incentive for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Forging ties of any sort with Israel is highly controversial in much of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Sudan's leading Islamic religious authority has already declared normalisation with Israel impermissible in Islam amid pressure on Khartoum to go ahead with the move.

The Islamic Fiqh Council which is considered the leading authority for issuing fatwas, or religious edicts, in Sudan said that normalisation of any kind would constitute supporting oppression and aiding sin and was thus strictly outlawed in Islam.

Read more: Normalisation deal with Netanyahu would betray Palestinians, along with Sudan's refugees in Israel

The Islamic Fiqh Council is a governmental body that includes representatives appointed by the prime minister.

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