Sudan signed the Abraham Accords, officially agreeing to peace and normalization with Israel, on Wednesday.
Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari signed the document with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin present. Mnuchin continued to Israel for “important meetings,” as he characterized them on Twitter.
Sudan became the third of four countries to agree to sign on to the Trump administration-brokered accords, following the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and before Morocco.
During Mnuchin’s visit, the countries also settled Sudan’s World Bank debt, a further step toward economic recovery for the African state, which has over $60 billion in foreign debt.
Though Khartoum announced its willingness to join in late October, its government waited to proceed until the US removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism last month, following the overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir in early 2019. Sudan paid $335 million in compensation to American victims of terrorism and their families as part of the removal process.
Mnuchin was in Khartoum “at a time when our bilateral relations are making historic leaps towards a better future. We plan to take concrete steps today to inaugurate the entry of our bilateral relations,” Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok tweeted.
The path to Sudan joining the Abraham Accords began in February 2020, when Sudan’s transitional leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tied normalization with Israel to the process of removing Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism – which dates back to the 1990s when the country hosted al-Qaeda – and to debt relief.
Burhan and Hamdok originally hesitated, out of concern for destabilizing their transitional government, led jointly by military and civilian leaders as Sudan moves toward democracy, but agreed to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in October.
Israel sent Sudan aid in the form of $5m. worth of wheat within days of the announcement.
Peace with Sudan carries historic symbolism for Israel, because the Arab League decided on its “three noes” – no recognition, no negotiations, no peace with Israel – in Khartoum in 1967.
About 6,200 Sudanese migrants and asylum-seekers live in Israel. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants says about 4,400 of them are from the Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions, where there are ongoing conflicts. The Interior Ministry granted “humanitarian status” to about 2,000 of the migrants from those regions.