The Sudanese leader told the American officials if Sudan is not be taken off the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism by end of 2020, the African country will freeze the process of normalization with Israel, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The two countries announced the normalization of diplomatic relations on October 23 after Khartoum reportedly agreed to the deal in exchange for being taken off Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, which grants Sudan immunity from lawsuits by victims of terrorism.
Although the Trump administration already started the process, it is pending a vote in Congress and the NYT reports that Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if the bill is not passed by the end of 2020, the normalization process would be put on hold.
Pompeo reportedly tried to reassure al-Burhan and promised that Congress will pass the bill in the coming weeks.
"The whole thing felt forced all along by an administration that wanted to use a terrorism designation as a political tool to try to get normalization with Israel,” director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security Ilan Goldenberg told the NYT.
“When you cook up these kinds of very transactional deals with unrelated items that don’t make much sense, this sometimes happens,” he added.
As long as Sudan remains on the terrorism sponsors list, foreign investors may be reluctant to invest in the crisis-hit African nation, now receiving tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees due to a civil war raging across the border.
Reprinted courtesy of i24NEWS