Sudan’s decision to join Abraham Accords unlocks US and regional aid

Khartoum on Friday joined the UAE and Bahrain in normalising ties with Israel

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on the phone with leaders of Israel and Sudan speaking about the decision to rescind Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
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The US has pledged an additional $81 million in aid for Sudan, after the country’s decision to join the Abraham Accords declaring normalisation of ties with Israel.

Sudan joined the Accords on Friday, a move analysts say could be transformative for a country that was an international pariah under the regime of ousted ruler Omar Al Bashir.

USAid said on Saturday that the new assistance would help Sudan to “confront ongoing severe challenges related to a deteriorating economy, the global pandemic and the worst floods in more than a century".

“This new funding brings US humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan to over $436m for fiscal year 2020,” the agency said.

The aid announcement was made the day after Sudan joined the Abraham Accords brokered by US President Donald Trump.

Since April, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have pledged $3 billion in aid for Sudan as it tackles crises including food insecurity and the economic ravages of Covid-19.

In a sign of rapidly shifting regional politics, the transitional Sudanese government agreed on October 19 to pay $335m in compensation to American victims of the 1998 Al Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Kenya.

Between 1991 and 1996, Al Bashir’s regime was accused of harbouring Osama bin Laden.

Since 2005, the former leader has been the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

Mr Trump tweeted his support for the agreement between Sudan and Israel, promising Sudan would be removed from the US state sponsors of terrorism list when the $335m deposit was made.