January 07, 2021
FILE – A combination of photos shows an Israeli flag, left, during a rally in Tel Aviv, Sept. 19, 2020, and a Sudanese flag during a gathering east of the capital Khartoum, June 3, 2020. PHOTO: AFP
By Halima Athumani | VOA News
KHARTOUM – Sudan has officially signed the Abraham Accords, agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. The deal paves the way for Sudan to relieve its massive debt to the World Bank.
The historic signing took place at the U.S embassy in Khartoum Wednesday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signed on behalf of Washington, while Sudanese Minister of Justice Nasereldin Abdelbari signed on behalf of Khartoum.
Speaking to reporters after the signing, Abdelbari said Khartoum welcomes the rapprochement and the diplomatic ties between Sudan and Israel that Sudan will boost for its own benefit and for other countries in the region. He said Khartoum appreciates Mnuchin’s historical visit and hopes to strengthen ties between Sudan and the U.S.
In his brief statement, Mnuchin said it was “a great honor to be here with you today, and I think this will have a tremendous impact on the people of Israel and the people of Sudan as they continue to work together on cultural and economic opportunities.”
The Abraham Accords are a series of U.S.-brokered agreements calling for the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and now, Sudan, to normalize relations with Israel after decades of broken ties.
Sudan agreed to sign the accords in part so the United States would remove the country from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that has blocked Sudan’s access to international loans.
Late in December, the U.S. removed Sudan from the list, and agreed to give Sudan a $1 billion “bridge loan” to help it clear its debt to the World Bank.
Sudanese economist Waleed El-Noor says Sudan needs this help to rebuild an economy struggling with shortages and inflation.
He said Sudan will benefit from signing the Abraham Accords and the U.S. bridge loan as it will allow it to enter the international banking system and relieve the sovereign debt. It will also allow Sudan to secure $1.5 billion loans from the World Bank annually, funds much needed to relieving the overwhelmed Sudanese economy.
Sudan was put on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list for giving refuge to Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders in the 1990s.