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Israel says Sudan peace deal to be signed in Washington

Sudan would become the latest Arab League country to normalize ties with Israel

Israel and Sudan will sign an “historic peace agreement” in Washington in a few months’ time, Israel’s foreign minister announced following talks in Khartoum.

Eli Cohen said the text of the agreement was finalized during his one-day visit to see Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Sudan agreed two years ago to normalize relations with Israel but a deal has never been implemented.

It would become the latest Arab League country to establish such ties.

The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco have officially normalized relations with Israel since 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Historically, members of the Arab League had refused to recognize Israel, a factor in perpetuating the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.

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 recognize Israel, after the Arab-Israeli war three months earlier.

Sudan’s foreign ministry said Mr Cohen and Lt-Gen Burhan had “discussed means for establishing fruitful relations with Israel” and strengthening cooperation in “agricultural, energy, health, water, education fields with special emphasis on security and military fields”.

It did not say whether a peace agreement would be signed.

The growing number of Arab countries formalizing relations with Israel has been condemned by the Palestinians, who see it as a betrayal of their cause.

For years, Arab countries conditioned peace talks with Israel on its withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Speaking on his return to Israel on Thursday night, Mr Cohen said his trip had been made “with the consent of the United States”.

The visit, he said, “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”.

Mr Cohen said a signing ceremony is expected to take place after the planned transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government following a military coup in October 2021.

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