U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to Sudan following his meetings in Jerusalem, the State Department said on Sunday as reports of a pending agreement between Israel and the African nation continue
Pompeo will visit Israel on Monday and the United Arab Emirates a day later to discuss the countries' normalization deal, two sources briefed on his itinerary said.
The secretary will meet Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Chairman of the Sudanese sovereign council Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
In its statement, the State Department said Pompeo's visit to Khartoum was “to discuss continued U.S. support for the civilian-led transitional government and express support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship,” the department said. Sudan is eager to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and normalizing ties with Israel would be a step toward that goal.
However, removal from the terrorism list is also dependent on the completion of a compensation agreement for victims of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. A tentative deal struck several months ago is still awaiting finalization.
During his visit to the area, the secretary will also discuss the security challenges posed by Iran and China in the region, according to a source who declined to be identified by name or nationality.
Israel and the UAE announced earlier this month that they would normalize diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship.
The accord sees Jerusalem agree to press pause on its plan to annex swathes of the West Bank, which the Palestinians want for their own state, in return for fully normalized ties with Abu Dhabi, a move that received massive support in Israel.
The deal also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.
White House senior adviser and Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to travel to Israel and the UAE in early September, and may stop in other countries as well, an administration official said.
Kushner will be accompanied by Avi Berkowitz, Trump's Middle East envoy, the official said.
Kushner and Berkowitz will thank Israel and the UAE for completing the deal, the official said.
First published: 20:11 , 08.23.20