CAIRO (AP) – Sudan said on Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with the United States to normalize relations with Israel and the cash-bonded African nation to clear some of its major debt to the World Bank. Paves the way for
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Justice Minister Nasredin Abdulbari signed the agreement with US Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin.
“This is a very important agreement. It will have a tremendous impact on the people of Israel and Sudan as they continue to work together on cultural and economic opportunities and trade,” Mnuchin said in comments made on the state-RN Sunna News Agency.
Abdulbari said that Sudan welcomed the “relationship between Israel and the countries of the region, as well as the beginning of diplomatic relations that we will work on, to build, strengthen and expand our side in the near future Welcomed. In the interest of Sudan and other countries of the region. “
In addition, during Menucchin’s visit, the US and Sudan signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” to facilitate the payment of the African country’s debt to the World Bank, the Finance Ministry said, a move widely known as Kharmoum’s economic It is seen as an important step towards improvement.
The ministry said the settlement would help Sudan to receive more than $ 1 billion annually from the World Bank in nearly three decades, when the country was designated as a state.
Sudan has more than $ 60 billion in foreign debt.
On October 23, President Donald Trump announced Sudan The biblical patriarchy venerated by Muslims and Jews would become the third Arab state to normalize relations with Israel as part of the US-Brocade Deal known as the “Abraham Agreement”.
The North African countries then agreed to put $ 335 million in an escrow account to compensate American victims of the terrorist attacks. Those include the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by the al-Qaeda network, while its leader Osama bin Laden was living in Sudan. The country is believed to have served as a pipeline to Iran to supply arms to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
In return, Trump informed Congress of his intention to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, a major impetus for the deal.
There was no immediate comment from Israel on Wednesday.
The Trump administration announced a diplomatic treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year – Jordan recognized Israel in the 1990s and Egypt in the 1970s. Morocco also established diplomatic relations with Israel. The agreements are with all countries that are geographically far from Israel and have played a small role, if any, in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The accusers have contributed to isolating and weakening Palestinians by ending a long-standing Arab consensus that Israel should be recognized only in exchange for concessions in the peace process.
Although Sudan is not a regional powerhouse, establishing relations with Israel is quite symbolic. Sudan hosted the 1967 Khartoum summit where Arab countries vowed never to make peace with Israel, and more recently had close ties with Israeli enemies such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy following a popular uprising in April 2019 to overthrow the long-autocratic Omar al-Bashir from the military. The county is now ruled by a joint military and civil government that establishes better relations with Washington and the West.
During his visit, Mnuchin met with General Abdel-Fatah Burhan, the head of the ruling sovereign council, and Prime Minister Abdullah Hamadok.
The statement said that this is the first visit of the US head of treasury sitting in Sudan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo August became the first top US diplomat to visit Sudan since 2005, when Condoleza Rice visited.
The visit comes at a time when our bilateral relations are taking historic steps towards a better future. Hamdok tweeted, “We plan to materialize today’s era as our relationship enters #NewEra.”
The Ministry of Justice said last month that the US would provide a $ 1 billion bridge loan from Sudan to the World Bank, besides $ 1.1 billion in direct and indirect aid from the US.
Since al-Bashir’s expulsion, Sudan has been governed by a joint military and civilian government that seeks better relations with the West. It is grappling with a large budget deficit and widespread scarcity of essential commodities including fuel, bread and medicine.
According to official figures, annual inflation has gone up by 200% in the previous months.
Mnuchin’s visit came amid growing tension between military and civilian members of the Transitional Government of Sudan. This tension, which has revived in recent weeks, has largely focused on the military’s economic assets, which the civilian-run Ministry of Finance does not control.
John Prendergast, co-founder of The Sentry Watchdog Group, said Menuchins should pressurize the military and security apparatus to allow “independent oversight” for the businesses it controls.
He said, “When Secretary Mnuchin is taking the lead in Khartoum, it is important that he weighs in with strong support for international anti-money laundering standards and fiscal transparency, which allows Sudan to counter the spoils of its national economy Are required. “
Mnuchin flew from Cairo to Sudan, where he met with President of Egypt Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, a close US ally. Stops are a part of activity during the last days of the Trump administration.
Mnuchin later tweeted that he had gone to Israel “for important meetings”.
Associated Press writer Joe Federman in Jerusalem contributed.