Israel-Sudan signing ceremony in Washington within months, minister says

FILE PHOTO: Israel's Eli Cohen, then Economy Minister, poses for a picture at his office in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 22, 2017. Picture taken November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and Sudan will finalise a diplomatic deal to normalise relations at a signing ceremony in Washington in the next three months, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said on Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from Sudanese officials or from the U.S. embassy in Israel.

Sudan’s civilian government has said the deal to normalise relations with Israel can only take effect once approved by a transitional legislative council that is yet to be formed.

Sudan joined the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco last year in agreeing to move toward normal relations with Israel in U.S.-brokered deals. The new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden has said it wants to build on those deals.

“The peace agreement’s draft is progressing and a signing ceremony for Israel and Sudan is expected in Washington in the next three months,” Cohen told Israel’s Ynet TV.

Cohen headed a delegation to Sudan on Monday to discuss advancing the normalisation deal. He told Ynet TV that officials discussed three economic plans as well as border security.

Cohen said he brought his hosts oil and fruit from the Holy Land and as a parting gift received an M16 rifle.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Cairo, Editing by William Maclean