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Sudanese ministers vote to repeal decades-old Israeli boycott law as part of normalization move

Sudanese ministers vote to repeal decades-old Israeli boycott law as part of normalization move
The government of Sudan has voted to abolish a 1958 law that banned all diplomatic and business relations with Israel. The decision comes after a normalization agreement was reached between the former foes.

“The Council of Ministers has approved a bill (repealing the 1958 boycott of Israel law) for the year 2021,” a cabinet statement read following Tuesday’s vote.

The measure now needs the backing of the country’s Sovereignty Council, which serves Sudan’s legislative organ during its transition from a military council to an elected ruling body.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok confirmed the cabinet’s move to abolish the boycott law on Twitter, and pointed out that Khartoum remained committed to the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sudan, which like most Arab nations had been a long-time supporter of Palestinian statehood, faced criticism from Palestinian officials after deciding to improve relations with the Jewish state.

Sudan and Israel agreed to mend ties last year, and the Sudanese government officially joined the so-called Abraham Accords, brokered by the US administration of then-president Donald Trump, on January 6 this year. The signing took place in Sudanese capital Khartoum and was attended by then-treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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Unlike the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which also opted to normalize relations with the Jewish state in 2020, Sudan fought Israeli forces on the battlefield in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Six-Day War of 1967.

Khartoum had long considered Israel an enemy state, with the 1958 law that made it illegal to establish diplomatic ties or engage in business with Israeli or Israeli-linked companies a cornerstone of its policies on the issue.

The decision to repel the boycott law was welcomed in Israel, with Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen calling it “an important and necessary step toward the signing of a peace accord between the countries.”

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