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Trump administration leveraged terror designation to push Sudan to recognize Israel

Last minute White House gambit risked efforts to obtain compensation for families of victims of the 1998 embassy bombings, sources tell Al-Monitor.

Late last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarked on a last-minute trip to Sudan amid a wider tour of the Middle East aimed at convincing Arab leaders to establish formal ties with Israel.

The night prior to Pompeo’s arrival in Khartoum, the State Department rushed documents over to the White House that, if signed by the president, would formally remove Sudan from the US’ state sponsors of terrorism list, Al-Monitor has learned.

US and Sudanese officials had long been in talks about removing Khartoum from the terror blacklist, and Sudan’s interim government had already largely met the main requirement laid out by the Trump administration.

But Pompeo raised a new proposal during his visit to Khartoum: That Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and immediately establish formal ties with Israel, according to two sources briefed on the meeting.

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