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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 January 2021

Sudan signs Abraham Accord to establish ties with Israel

African nation also signs deals worth $1 billion, settling its World Bank debt

Sudan has signed the Abraham Accord to normalise relations with Israel.

The African nation is the fourth country in the Mena region to sign the accord with Israel in the past year, following the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco.

The US embassy in Sudan said the move would "build mutual trust and increase co-operation in the region".

Sudan’s Justice Minister Nasreldin Abdelbari, who signed the agreement on Wednesday with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said: “The Abraham Accord signed today is based on an initiative by the US and other regional states to reinforce peace, tolerance and respect among the different nations in the region.

“Through this we express our willingness to reinforce our joint and mutual respect among Abrahamic faiths,” he told the media in Khartoum.

Sudan will also be granted access to $1 billion under another agreement inked with Mr Mnuchin, settling its long-standing World Bank debt.

“The United States of America will pay Sudan’s arrears to the World Bank Group which finally enables the country access sources of financing amounting to $1.5bn annually to drive the country’s economy forward and help the government implement infrastructure and development projects,” Sudan’s state news agency reported.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially delisted Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism – a vital step in making Wednesday’s agreements possible.

“After months of negotiations, I signed the order to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and ensure compensation for America victims of terrorism and their families,” Mr Pompeo wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Once in a generation opportunity for freedom – huge benefits,” he said.

Sudan paid more than $330 million as a settlement to the victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa in exchange for its delisting.

This puts the African nation, which was under three decades of dictatorship until 2019, on a path towards economic recovery after decades of state failure.

Still, a legislative council is yet to be formed, which has prevented the process of legal reform from picking up full speed under its transitional government.

Sudan's economy is still reeling from decades of corruption and untapped potential under regime of ousted dictator Omar Al Bashir.

In the meantime, talks with Ethiopia and Egypt of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have stalled.

Sudan's southern region of Darfur is also under a watchful eye as the UN's mission there comes to an end, resulting in a complete pull-out of its 'Blue Helmets' peacekeepers.

This could reignite tensions in Darfur between rebel groups and the transitional government even after they signed a peace agreement in October last year.

Updated: January 6, 2021 10:57 PM

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