Breakthrough is 3rd Israeli accord with Arab states in weeks; Netanyahu hails ‘a new world’; Palestinians denounce another ‘stab in the back’
By JACOB MAGID and AGENCIES
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump announced Friday that Sudan has agreed to make peace with Israel, making it the third Arab state to normalize ties as part of US-brokered deals since August.
During a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudan Sovereign Council president General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Trump brought reporters into the Oval Office and announced: “The State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan have agreed to make peace.”
A senior Trump aide, Judd Deere, said that Sudan and Israel “have agreed to the normalization of relations.”
Trump said Sudan had demonstrated a commitment to battling terrorism. “This is one of the great days in the history of Sudan,” Trump said, adding that Israel and Sudan have been in a state of war for decades.
“It is a new world,” Netanyahu said over the phone as Trump took questions from the White House press corps in the Oval Office. “We are cooperating with everyone. Building a better future for all of us.”
“We are expanding the circle of peace so rapidly with your leadership,” Netanyahu could be heard telling Trump, who responded by saying. “There are many, many more coming.”
“We very much look forward… to establis[hing] strong political and economic relations between our nations and the rest of the world,” said Hamdok.
“Thank you Mr. President Trump, Thank you Mr. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mike, [Secretary of State of State Pompeo], thank you because you have stood with us from the beginning,” said al-Burhan.
Sudan also confirmed the deal. “Sudan and Israel agreed to normalize their relations, to end the state of aggression between them,” state TV said, reading a joint statement between Sudan, Israel and the United States.
Netanyahu appeared to remain on the phone longer than the Sudanese leaders and took several questions from reporters.
Providing his analysis of the latest development, Netanyahu said, “I do see an enthusiasm from most countries in the world, from most people in the world across the political divide. Yeah, Iran is unhappy, Hezbollah is unhappy, Hamas is unhappy, but most everybody else is very happy.”
Trump was asked whether Israeli and Sudanese leaders would be invited to Washington for a signing ceremony akin to the one held last month with Netanyahu along with the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain after those respective countries agreed to normalize ties with the Jewish state.
“We will have them along with some other countries that you’ll be hearing about coming, probably simultaneously,” Trump responded. “Then ultimately we’re going to have a big reunion at the end where everybody’s here and everybody’s gonna be signed. We expect Saudi Arabi is going to be one of those countries.”
Netanyahu remained on the line as reporters continued asking questions. One of them pressed the prime minister for his thoughts on Trump’s prediction that Iran would be included in a broader regional peace deal stemming from the recent normalization agreements.
Netanyahu paused for a moment before responding. “Well… I spoke in the American Congress, I didn’t say I was opposed to any deal, I said I was opposed to that deal,” he said, referencing his 2015 address to a joint session of Congress during which he harangued the Obama-negotiated Iran nuclear deal.
“I think that if a new deal is offered…it would be welcome. I think that will only happen if Iran faces strong opposition to its aggression of the kind [pushed] by you Mr. President. If you’re soft with Iran, you’re not going to get peace with Iran. If you’re strong against Iran and prevent it from achieving nuclear weapons then I think they might come around to a better deal,” he added.
As the call was ongoing, PLO official Wasel Abu Youssef released a statement calling the agreement “a new stab in the back for the Palestinians,” while Hamas called it a “step in the wrong direction.”
The deal with Sudan will include aid and investment from Israel, particularly in technology and agriculture, along with further debt relief. It comes as Sudan and its transitional government teeter on the edge. Thousands have protested in the country’s capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.
Source: Fox News