Sudan’s transitional government signs Abraham Accords normalizing ties with Israel

According to the deal Sudan will recognize Israel and will “normalize” relations with it. The UAE and Bahrain had signed the deal in September last year

January 07, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
US treasury secretary Steven Munchin and Sudanese prime minister Abdalla Hamdok in Khartoum | Credit: Middle East Eye

Sudan formally signed the Abraham Accords with the US on Wednesday, January 6 announcing the formal normalization of relations with Israel. The deal, which was first announced in October, was signed by Nasreldin Abdelbari, the justice minister in Sudan’s transitional government, and Steven Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary.

Sudan became the third Arab country after the UAE and Bahrain to sign the deal. Both UAE and Bahrain signed the deal on September 15 in the White House. Morocco too has announced similar recognition of Israel but has yet to sign the deal formally.

Over the past few decades, Arab countries had stuck to their stance of refusing to recognize Israel and or have diplomatic relations with it due to its occupation of Palestine. With the signing of the deal, Sudan has become the fifth Arab nation to break away from the Arab Peace initiative of the Arab League according to which no country in the region will normalize its relations with Israel until an independent Palestinian state is achieved.  

The government of Sudan agreed to sign the normalization deal after the US promised to remove the country from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. According to Sudan’s acting minister of finance, Hiba Ahmed, the deal with the US will open opportunities of loan from the World Bank. According to a statement issued by her office “[T]his move will enable Sudan to regain access to over USD 1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years.”

Sudan is also looking for various financial gains from the deal as it promises to undo the effects of the sanctions imposed on the country during the rule of Omar al-Bashir who was overthrown by the popular protests in 2019.

The move to sign the deal has been opposed by most of the political parties who have announced the formation of an opposition front against the deal, Al-Jazeera reported. Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), one of the leading forces in popular resistance against Bashir’s rule, had rejected the normalization of relations with Israel when it was first hinted at by Sudan’s foreign ministry.

The National Umma Party, SCP, the Arab Baath Party and the Nasserite Baath Party had all rejected the normalization deal when it was formally announced in October. “Not a single political party of any significance has expressed support for normalization except the Sudan Congress Party,” SCP’s national spokesperson Fathi Elfadl told Peoples Dispatch in October.