Sudan rejects link between removal from US terrorism list and

KHARTOUM – Sudan does not want to link its removal from the list of American terrorism which hinders access to foreign funding for the country’s economy with the normalization of relations with Israel, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Saturday.

Sources said this week that US officials have indicated in discussions with a Sudanese delegation that they want Khartoum to follow the UAE and Bahrain and open relations with Israel.

Sudan’s designation as a sponsor state of terrorism dates back to its ousted leader Omar al-Bashir and makes it difficult for its new transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign funding.

Hamdok said Sudan told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit last month that it was necessary to separate removal from the US list from normalizing relations with Israel.

“This topic (ties with Israel) requires a thorough discussion of society,” he said at a conference in Khartoum to discuss economic reforms.

Soaring inflation in Sudan and the collapse of the currency have been the greatest challenges for the transitional Hamdok administration, which has ruled with the military since Bashir’s ouster.

Sudan was put on the American list in 1993 because the United States believed the Bashir regime was supporting militant groups. But many in Sudan consider it undeserved since Bashir was sacked last year and Sudan has long cooperated with the United States in the fight against terrorism.

The White House and State Department declined to comment when asked about the state of negotiations.

Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a surprise meeting in Uganda earlier this year. Yet opening ties is tricky, as Sudan was a staunch enemy of Israel under Bashir.