U.S. Prepares to Take Sudan Off List of States That Support Terrorism

U.S. Prepares to Take Sudan Off List of States That Support Terrorism

Officials cautioned that a final decision to remove Sudan from the terrorism list must be approved by the White House.

But President Trump is not expected to wait for Congress to act.

With six weeks before the election, Mr. Trump has cited the warming ties among once-rival states in the Middle East and North Africa as an example of his administration’s diplomatic prowess. Five additional countries are considering formal relations with Israel, the president said on Sept. 15, and officials have said they include Sudan.

“We’ll be signing up other nations,” Mr. Trump said at the White House last week, shortly before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel signed the accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with the deputy Sudanese ambassador in the audience. “And these are very strong agreements. These are very strong. This is really peace. This is serious peace.”

Cementing diplomacy between Israel and Sudan would be a coup for the administration, given their turbulent history.

It was in Khartoum after the Arab-Israeli War in 1967 that the Arab League announced its “three no’s” resolution, which opposed peace, negotiations and recognition of Israel. That was widely recognized among Arab states until President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt made a historic trip to Jerusalem in 1977. Until last week’s accords, Egypt and Jordan were the only two Arab states with formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Sudan was placed on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism after officials concluded in 1993 that the government of its leader at the time, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, provided refuge and other support to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and other Palestinian groups. Only three other nations — Iran, North Korea and Syria — are on the State Department list that restricts assistance from the United States and, effectively, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But in 2016, after Sudan cut its diplomatic ties with Iran, the United States began easing sanctions against Khartoum to reward its cooperation on counterterrorism missions and ending military attacks against Sudanese citizens. The détente was fueled last year by Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster and international efforts to support democracy in the new transitional government.

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