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Sudan Refuses to Link US Terrorism Removal with Israel | Middle East

Sources say US officials indicated they wanted Khartoum to open ties with Israel, following in the footsteps of the UAE and Bahrain.

Sudan does not want to link its removal from a US “terrorist list” that hinders access to foreign finance for the country’s economy with the normalization of relations with Israel, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Saturday.

Sources said this week that US officials indicated in talks with a Sudanese delegation that they wanted Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain and open ties with Israel.

Sudan’s designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism”

; goes back to its overthrown ruler Omar al-Bashir, and makes it difficult for his new transitional government to access debt relief and urgently needed foreign funding.

In a visit to Khartoum last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the head of the Sovereign of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to normalize ties with Israel. [File: Sudan’s Foreign Media Council/AFP]

Hamdok said Sudan had told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a visit last month that it was necessary to separate the removal from the US list from normalization of relations with Israel.

“This topic [ties to Israel] it needs a thorough discussion on society, ”he told a conference in Khartoum to discuss economic reforms.

Rising inflation and the collapse of Sudan’s currency have been major challenges for Hamdok’s transitional administration, which has ruled with the military since al-Bashir’s removal.

Sudan was added to the US list in 1993 because the US believed that al-Bashir’s government supported armed groups.

But many in Sudan believe this is undeserved as al-Bashir was removed last year and Sudan has long collaborated with the US on counter-terrorism matters.

The White House and the State Department declined to comment when asked about the status of the negotiations.

Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a surprise meeting in Uganda earlier this year. However, opening ties is delicate, as Sudan was a staunch enemy of Israel under al-Bashir.

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