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Sudan, Israel set to normalise ties

Israel and Sudan have agreed to take steps to normalise relations in a deal brokered with US help.

Friday’s agreement makes the North African country the third Arab state to set aside hostilities with the Jewish state in the last two months. Others are Qatar and Bahrain.

US President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the deal in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, as well as Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Mr. Trump’s decision this week to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord with Israel. Analysts say the accord marks  a foreign policy achievement for the US leader as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

According to a joint statement issued by the leaders of the three countries, they “agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations”. There was also promise of US help for Khartoum to secure international debt relief.

Israel and Sudan plan to begin by opening economic and trade links, with an initial focus on agriculture, the joint statement said. Reuters reported an unnamed senior Trump administration official as saying such issues as formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.

Mr. Trump touted the deal to reporters in the Oval Office with the Israeli and Sudanese leaders on the line in a three-way phone call, saying at least five other countries wanted to follow suit and normalise relations with Israel.

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