Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sudan rejects reopening ties with Israel to get off U.S. watch list

Sudan was put on a U.S. terrorism watch list in 1993 over alleged ties to militant groups.

• September 26, 2020
Sudan PM Abdalla Hamdok
Sudan PM Abdalla Hamdok [Photo Credit: BBC]

The Sudanese government has said it will not normalise ties with Israel as a precondition for its delisting from a U.S. terrorism watch list.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced the country’s position on Saturday.

Sudan’s economy has been hurt since the U.S. listed it as a state sponsor of terrorism during the rule of its ousted leader, Omar Al-Bashir.

The northern African country has been unable to access debt relief and foreign financing, which the current transitional government now needs desperately.

This week, sources said U.S. officials, in talks with a Sudanese delegation, informed them that the US wants Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in opening relations with Israel.

Hamdok said Sudan had told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month that Sudan objects to the U.S.’ wish.

“This topic (ties to Israel) needs a deep discussion of the society,’’ he told a conference in Khartoum to discuss economic reforms.

Sudan’s surging inflation and plummeting currency have been the biggest challenges to Hamdok’s transitional administration, which has ruled with the military since Mr. Bashir’s ouster.

Sudan was put on the U.S. list in 1993 because the U.S. believed Mr. Bashir’s regime was supporting militant groups.

But many in Sudan think that status should change given Mr. Bashir was removed last year, and Sudan believes it has long cooperated with the U.S. on counter-terrorism.

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