An historic normalization agreement is reportedly going to be announced between the State of Israel and Sudan in the coming days, according to a report published Monday by the Hebrew-language Walla! News outlet.
The report comes just a few hours after an announcement by the United States that Sudan will be removed from its list of Foreign State Sponsors of Terrorism, and a tweet Tuesday by Sudan’s central bank governor Mohamed al-Fatih Zainelabidine, confirming the bank transferred a compensation payment of $335 million to families of US victims of terror.
However, although Sudanese Finance Minister Heba Mohamed Ali confirmed the transfer of funds, she declined to confirm the country’s willingness to sign such an agreement, according to i24TV. The reluctance to confirm the apparently agreed-upon deal reflects the mixed messages still being sent by the country’s Transitional Sovereign Council, comprised of civilian and military officials who don’t see eye-to-eye on the matter.
Foreign Minister Omer Qamar Aldin told reporters Tuesday there was no link between being removed from the terror list, and the possibility of a normalization agreement with Israel. Speaking at a news conference in Khartoum, the Sudanese foreign minister said, “I can confirm that there is no link between the issue of normalization with Israel and the lifting of Sudan from the terror list.” He added that Sudan’s removal from the US blacklist was to be “the first step for Sudan’s return to the international community.”
The Sudanese government has been sharply divided over normalizing relations with Israel. The military deputy head of the Transitional Sovereign Council, General Mohammed Dagalo, told a local television station on October 4, “We need Israel . . . Israel is a developed country and the whole world is working with it. We will have benefits from such relations . . . We hope all look at Sudan’s interests.”
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, civilian leader of the council, had urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, to work towards Sudan’s removal from the foreign state sponsors of terror list without linking the move to Sundanese normalization of ties with Israel.
Eventually, the United States finally lost patience less than two weeks later, and sent an ultimatum to the nation’s leadership, telling them to decide once and for all.
“Senior Sudanese government officials are telling Sudans Post that the country has agreed to normalize ties with Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, after United States’ President Donald Trump gave the ruling military a 24–hour ultimatum to decide,” the Sudans Post news outlet wrote on October 15.
Quoting a senior government official close to the Sudanese prime minister, the news outlet added, “In return, there are things that the United States is going to fulfill before we go for talks with our Israeli counterparts.”
The country’s ruling military has been in favor of normalization with Israel for some time, said a second government official.
“You know, the Transitional Sovereign Council has been in favor of normalization with the State of Israel. This is because the country’s pariah status is complicated by the enmity of the deposited regime toward Israel and other Western countries and so they believe normalizing will address most of these challenges,” the source said on condition of anonymity, according to the news outlet.
Earlier this month, a senior member of the Sudan Scholars Association (SCA) issued a fatwa permitting diplomatic relationships with any nation in the world, including Israel, because “such diplomatic relations are political and legal, and not religious.” The Islamic ruling has cleared the way for religious Muslims in the Sudanese government to move ahead with the normalization process.