An agreement between Israel and Sudan on steps toward normalization of diplomatic ties is expected to be announced later on Friday, a senior U.S. official said.
President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism helped pave the way for Khartoum to become the latest Arab state to reach a deal on rapprochement with Israel, the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It would mark a new foreign policy achievement for Trump as he seeks re-election on Nov 3 trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Trump announced on Monday he would take Sudan off the terrorism list once it deposited the $335 million it had pledged to pay in compensation. Khartoum has since placed the funds in a special escrow account for victims of al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
At the same time, Trump’s aides have been pressing Sudan to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, following similar U.S.-brokered moves in recent weeks by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
A key sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan’s insistence that any announcement of Khartoum’s delisting from the terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to establishing ties with Israel.
The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.
The agreement to be announced between Israel and Sudan is expected to commit to initial steps toward normalization, with issues such as an exchange of ambassadors and embassies to be resolved later, the senior U.S. official said.