JERUSALEM, Israel – Senior Israeli officials traveled to Sudan on Wednesday amid predictions that the two countries are on the verge of normalizing relations, according to a report from Israel’s public broadcaster Kan Radio.
The report said talks were held in Khartoum but gave no further details.
Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Channel 13 News, that Israel is “very close” to normalizing ties with the Islamic country.
The news comes after the Trump administration announced it would remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list after Sudan agreed to pay $335 million to American terror victims and their family members. Sudan’s central bank governor said on Tuesday that his country had transferred the compensation it had agreed to pay to the US.
The United States has made delisting Sudan from the terror blacklist a key incentive for the Sudanese government to normalize relations with Israel.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the US has already begun the process of removing Sudan from the terror list. Pompeo also said he hopes Sudan will soon recognize Israel.
“We are working diligently with them to make a case for why that’s in the Sudanese government’s best interest to make that sovereign decision. We hope that they’ll do that,” he said. “We hope that they’ll do that quickly. We hope every country will do that quickly.”
Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister, told Army Radio on Wednesday that the US will announce another deal establishing relations between Israel and an Arab or Muslim country before the US election.
“I have a reasonable basis to believe that the announcement will come before Nov. 3 – that, if you’ll permit me, is what I understand from my sources,” Akunis said.
The UAE and Bahrain recently signed diplomatic agreements with Israel, and President Trump says more countries in the Middle East and North Africa will soon normalize ties with the Jewish State.