Sudan to normalize ties with Israel, in new breakthrough for Trump
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an accord at the White House last month to normalize relations with Israel but Sudan carries added symbolism as an Arab nation that has been at war with Israel.
Trump announced the agreement by Sudan's year-old civilian-backed government moments after he formally moved to end the nation's designation of a state sponsor of terrorism, which was a major goal for Khartoum.
"This truly changes the region. It changes the lives of our peoples for the better and allows us to focus on the task of building our nations, building our future," Netanyahu was heard telling Trump.
"We have at least five more that want to come in and we'll have many more than that soon," Trump said in a room packed with aides, few of them wearing masks despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Until last month, the only Arab nations to recognize Israel were Jordan and Egypt -- neighbors of the Jewish state that had made peace after US mediation.
Economic boon for Sudan
Both the United States and Israel committed to boosting trade with Sudan, an impoverished, conflict-ridden nation that had faced years of criticism over its violent internal campaigns until the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir last year.
As part of the deal to get off the terror blacklist, the White House said that Sudan's transitional government had deposited $335 million to compensate survivors and family members of anti-US attacks that took place when Bashir's regime welcomed Al-Qaeda.
"This decision will open wide the door to Sudan's deserved return to the international community and the international financial and banking sector, as well as to regional and international investment," Hamdok's office said in a statement that did not mention ties with Israel.
Also on the telephone call was Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who met Netanyahu earlier this year in Uganda.
Sudan played a small part in Arab-Israeli wars and, after Israel's decisive victory in 1967, Khartoum was where the Arab League issued its famous "three no's" -- no peace, no recognition and no negotiations with Israel.
Sudan has been seeking for years to remove the designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which severely impedes investment as few foreign businesses want to risk the wrath of US prosecution.
With Trump's formal move, Congress has 45 days in which it can pass a resolution to object to the delisting.
Congress is not expected to block the delisting but it must also approve legislation to grant Sudan immunity from further claims.
Until then, the $335 million will be held in an escrow account.
The money includes compensation to survivors and family members of those killed in Al-Qaeda's twin attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.