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Israel, Sudan to sign deal to normalize ties: Fm

Jerusalem, Feb 3 (IANS) Following his return from a “historic” visit to Khartoum, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced here that his country and Sudan have agreed to normalize ties and sign a peace agreement in Washington in a few months’ time.

Addressing a press conference here late Thursday, Cohen said that he met Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council and de-facto leader of the country, and other senior officials during the day-long trip, Xinhua news agency reported.

The visit to Sudan which had been made “with the consent of the US, lays the foundations for a historic peace agreement with a strategic Arab and Muslim country”.

“The peace agreement between Israel and Sudan will promote regional stability and contribute to the national security of the State of Israel,” the Foreign Minister said.

Cohen said a signing ceremony is expected to take place after the planned transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government following the military coup in October 2021 which was led by Al-Burhan.

In a separate statement issued in Khartoum, Sudan’s Sovereignty Council said the talks were held with the goal of establishing “fruitful relations with Israel” and strengthening bilateral cooperation in “agricultural, energy, health, water, education fields with special emphasis on security and military fields”.

But it did not say whether a peace agreement would be signed.

Sudan is set to become the fourth Muslim Arab nation to sign a normalization agreement with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, a series of US-brokered normalization deals Israel reached with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to establish official relations in 2020.

Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively.

In 2020, Sudan agreed to normalize its relations with Israel as part of a deal brokered by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

An accord with Sudan holds particular symbolic importance as Khartoum was the venue for an Arab League meeting in 1967 where members vowed not to recognise Israel, after the Arab-Israeli war three months earlier.

In the same year, Washington had removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.