Sudan said it signed the "Abraham Accords" with the U.S., on Wednesday paving the way for the African nation to normalize ties with Israel.
A statement from Sudan's prime minister's office said Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari signed the accord with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Dubbed ‘The Abraham Accords’, the US-negotiated deals between Muslim countries and Israel are seen as a major foreign policy achievement for President Trump’s administration. They are named after the biblical patriarch Abraham revered by Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Sudan was the third Arab state to agree to full diplomatic ties after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Morocco became number four late last year.
Before the accords, the last country to sign a peace treaty with Israel was Jordan in 1994 and before that Egypt in 1978.
Trump announced that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel in October and said he would remove the African nation from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, opening the way for economic aid and investment.
The Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian groups oppose the accords because they went against the longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel would only occur in return for an Israeli peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The signing of the Abraham Accords followed an announcement that the U.S. and Sudan had agreed to settle the African country’s debt to the World Bank, widely seen as a key step toward the nation’s economic recovery after the 2019 overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Mnuchin’s visit is the first by a sitting U.S. Treasury chief to Sudan, a statement from the prime minister's office said. In August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first top American diplomat to visit Sudan since 2005, when Condoleezza Rice visited. Pompeo was also the most senior U.S. official to visit the African country since last year’s ouster of al-Bashir.
Mnuchin met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who tweeted that the visit comes “at a time when our bilateral relations are taking historical leaps towards a better future. We’re planning to make tangible strides today as our relations enter a #NewEra,”
Sudan’s Finance Ministry said a “memorandum of understanding” with the U.S. treasury department would enable Sudan's government to have more than $1 billion annually from the World Bank.
It’s the first time it will get such assistance in nearly 30 years since Sudan was first designated as a pariah state when it hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other militants and was believed to be funneling weapons from Iran to Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
This story compiled using material from Associated Press
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