Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok says Sudan does not accept the conditioning of its removal from a US “terrorism list” upon normalization of relations with the Israeli regime.
“Sudan’s name should be removed from the list of countries that are sponsoring terrorism. Sudan has returned to the international fold after 30 years outside it. This must happen,” Hamdok said Saturday.
US officials reportedly indicated in talks with a Sudanese delegation that they wanted Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in establishing ties with Israel in return for Sudan’s removal from the terror list.
Hamdok said Sudan had already told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit last month that it was necessary to separate the two issues.
Sudan was put on the so-called terrorism list in 1993 over allegations that its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir was supporting terrorism. Under al-Bashir, Sudan was a staunch foe of the Israeli regime.
Sudan’s inclusion on the list has made it difficult for the transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief. The country’s surging inflation and plummeting currency have been Hamdok’s biggest challenges since he took over last year.
Hamdok said the current transitional government in Sudan was actively fighting terrorism and terror financing.
He also said that normalizing with Israel was an issue that needed “a deep discussion of the society.”
The current government has postponed any decision regarding the normalization until after the transitional period ends in the African country.
However, it was reported this week that Sudan was ready to join the UAE and Bahrain in normalizing ties with the Israeli regime in return for over $3 billion in economic aid.
US President Donald Trump brokered the controversial normalization deals between the two Arab regimes and Israel, which they formally signed during a ceremony at the White House this month.
Suspicion about possible normalization between Khartoum and Tel Aviv was raised earlier this year when Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan’s transitional military council, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda.
Burhan, however, said he had made no promises to Netanyahu.
Anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiments run high in Sudanese society.