On Friday Donald Trump announced that Israel and Sudan have opened economic ties as a pathway toward normalized relations, with Sudan becoming the third Arab state to formally set aside hostilities in recent weeks, and Trump also removed Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, unblocking economic aid and investment.

Announcing the normalisation, Trump said at least five more Arab states wanted a peace deal with Israel. The Sudan deal comes weeks after similar moves by the UAE and Bahrain. These two became the first in the Middle East to recognise Israel in 26 years. The UAE’s foreign ministry said it welcomed Sudan’s decision, calling it “an important step to boost security and prosperity in the region”, last month two Arab countries Egypt and Jordan also officially recognised Israel. The two countries, which border Israel, signed peace agreements in 1979 and 1994 respectively.

WHAT TRUMP SAID WHILE ANNOUNCING THIS?

Trump made the announcement from the Oval Office while joined on the phone by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement was a “dramatic breakthrough for peace” and the start of a “new era”. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok thanked Mr Trump for removing his country from the US terrorism list and said the Sudanese government was working “towards international relations that best serve our people”. Sudanese state TV said the “state of aggression” would end. While on the phone to the two world leaders, Mr Trump said: “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal? Somehow I don’t think so.”

“Sleepy Joe” is his pejorative nickname for his opponent in US election, Democrat Joe Biden. According to a joint statement from the three countries, the leaders of Sudan and Israel “agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations” and “agreed to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture.”

“The leaders also agreed that delegations will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements of cooperation in those areas as well as in agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas for the benefit of the two peoples. The leaders also resolved to work together to build a better future and advance the cause of peace in the region,” the joint statement said.
But Sudan’s acting foreign minister, Omar Gamareldin, told state TV on Friday that the country’s legislative council must still approve the normalization agreement.

“This is an agreement to normalize; it is not yet normalization. We must wait for Sudan’s democratic institutions to be functional, including the legislative council, so we can complete the ratification of this step so it can become, in reality, normalization. The government cannot unilaterally complete the process of normalization because the government is the Sovereign Council, the Council of Ministers and the Legislative Council,” said Gamareldin.

SOME GAPS IN AGREEMENT

In some articles and in some prime time reporters showed their concern that this deal appears to fall short of full diplomatic ties, since there was no mention of opening embassies in the others’ capitals, as Israel is planning to do with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Trump administration official said doing so has not been a part of the negotiations. Also, Trump did not respond when asked if the accord amounted to full diplomatic normalization between Sudan and Israel.

All over this agreement was a good step by Donald Trump for his upcoming elections and for world peace too, although foreign policy issues rarely move votes in American presidential elections, Mr. Trump’s campaign hopes to rally Jewish and evangelical Christian support by showing it can coax Arab nations to accept Israel.

“The Trump team is throwing whatever they can muster at the wall and hoping something sticks,” said Zach Vertin, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington who, as a State Department policy adviser during the Obama administration, worked for the U.S. special envoy to Sudan.

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