The Sudan Sovereign Council and Council of Ministers recently voted to repeal its more than six-decade-long boycott of Israel. The legislation had barred the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and prohibited any business ties with the Jewish state. Penalties for those who traded with Israelis, included up to 10 years in prison and a heavy fine.
“The United States welcomes the announcement,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “It’s an important step that will create new, promising opportunities for the people of Sudan, Israel, and across the region.”
The announcement brings Sudan and Israel closer to normalizing relations following their January signing of the Abraham Accords with the United States.
In August 2019, the people of Sudan overthrew long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. The country is now ruled by a civilian-led transitional government that is seeking better ties with the West and economic development. Sudan’s economy had suffered from decades of mismanagement under al-Bashir, who had ruled the country since a 1989 Islamist-backed military coup. Sudan also earned its designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in the 1990s for hosting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted terrorists.
Steps taken by the new leadership in Sudan to end the country’s support for acts of international terrorism made it possible for the United States to rescind Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in December 2020.
Additional normalization agreements were signed last year between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Morocco also established diplomatic ties with Israel.
“We are pleased to welcome this new era in Sudanese-Israeli relations,” said spokesperson Price, “and we look forward to seeing the fruits this boycott’s end will bear.”