During Wednesday’s State Department press briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo teased that Sudan could be the next country to sign a deal to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. Pompeo also revealed that the U.S. is moving to lift the state sponsorship of terror designation still imposed against Sudan.
The Trump administration recently brokered similar deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Israel, dubbed “The Abraham Accords.” The two gulf countries signed deals with Israel at the White House last month, signaling a “new era of Middle East Peace.” A delegation from Sudan was reportedly in attendance at the signing ceremony.
“I don’t know the precise timing, but we have begun the process to lift the designation of state sponsorship of terror,” Pompeo said. “It’s the right thing to do. There’s been a lot of work done on this over the course of the first three years of the administration. We believe there’s a firm legal basis for doing that and we think that there will be enormous bipartisan consensus that that’s the right thing to do.”
Pompeo visited the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in August, where he flew on the first-ever direct flight from Israel to Sudan. Khartoum recognizing Israel would be historic, mainly because it was the site of the infamous Khartoum resolution, where the Arab states signed an anti-normalization deal and declared that they wouldn’t negotiate, recognize, or make peace with Israel.
“We also are continuing to work to get every nation to recognize Israel, the rightful Jewish homeland and to acknowledge their basic, fundamental right to exist as a country,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday. “That certainly includes Sudan and we are working diligently with them to make the case for why that’s in the Sudanese government’s best interest to make that sovereign decision. We hope that they’ll do that, we hope that they’ll do that quickly. We hope every country will do that quickly.”
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CIA director meets with Israeli PM to arouse regional support following drone attack
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By Jenny Goldsberry
Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns visited Israel Wednesday in an effort to rally regional support amidst attacks from Iran. Burns discussed possibilities for regional cooperation with Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Late July, drones struck an Israeli tanker off the coast of Oman. As a result, two crew members died. Since then, the United States blamed Tehran for the attack. Iranian officials deny their involvement.
At the time, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House was noticing a disturbing pattern. “We feel it follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior,” Psaki said. “And these actions also threaten freedom of navigation through crucial waterways — something that is posing a risk to a range of countries around the world.”
Therefore, the press secretary suggested that countries get involved. “You know, I would also note that we know our British partners have called for action, called for steps in a coordinated way from international bodies, including the United Nations, which we would certainly support,” Psaki said. Now, Burns’ visit symbolizes the United State following through on the White House’s comments.
According to a statement from Burns’ office, he met with Bennett after meeting with the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligency agency David Barnea. Burns met the Israeli leader in Tel-Aviv. “They discussed the situation in the Middle East, with emphasis on Iran, and possibilities for expanding and deepening regional cooperation,” the statement read.
Next, Burns will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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