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Sudan quietly signs Abraham Accords weeks after Israel deal

U.S. President Donald Trump listens with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security adviser Robert O'Brien as White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks about an agreement between Israel and Sudan on steps toward normalization of relations in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan on Wednesday quietly signed on to the Abraham Accords, U.S.-brokered agreements which have ushered in public rapprochements between Israel and several Arab states.

While Sudan and Israel announced they would normalize ties in October, Khartoum’s government had said a final decision would rest with a transitional parliament, which is yet to be formed.

The UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco have already signed the accords, hailing the prospect of more immediate economic and diplomatic ties with Israel as groundbreaking.

U.S. officials say they hope they will encourage the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations with Israel but Palestinians say there can be no resolution of the core Israeli-Palestinian conflict unless they are involved.

Senior U.S. officials had told Reuters in October that a signing ceremony was expected to be held at the White House. Just over two months later, the accords were signed quietly in Khartoum on Wednesday by Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdelbari and visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“The declaration stipulates the necessity to consolidate the meanings of tolerance, dialogue and coexistence between different peoples and religions in the Middle East region and the world, in a way that serves the promotion of a culture of peace,” the Sudanese cabinet said.

As part of the initial agreement in October, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would remove Sudan from a U.S. government list of countries promoting terrorism, a process that was completed last month.

Mnuchin also signed a memorandum of understanding to provide Sudan with a previously announced bridge loan to help Sudan clear its arrears to the World Bank and access $1 billion in annual funding, Sudan’s finance ministry said.

“Sudan’s signing of the Abraham Accords is an important step in advancing regional normalization agreements in the Middle East,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a tweet.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Nafisa Eltahir and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Philippa Fletcher

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