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Weekly Newsletter
October 23, 2020
In this issue:
  • Israel and Sudan expected to normalise ties by next week
  • First official UAE delegation visits Israel
  • Israel and Bahrain sign agreement to open diplomatic relations

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Israel and Sudan expected to normalise ties by next week
  • Israel and Sudan are expected to announce the normalisation of relations and a nonaggression pact as early as next week after several rounds of US-led negotiations.
    • An Israeli-American delegation visited Sudan on Wednesday in what has been reported as the breakthrough in negotiations. Ronen Peretz, acting Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, and Netanyahu’s envoy to the Arab world “Maoz” were reportedly joined by senior US defence official Miguel Correa and Aryeh Lightstone, an adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, on the one-day trip.
    • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok yesterday and applauded his “efforts-to-date to improve Sudan’s relationship with Israel and expressed hope that they would continue”.
    • The US has been in negotiation with Sudan for several weeks over whether to remove the African state from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
      • Unlike the UAE and Bahrain, Sudan has also participated in wars against Israel with its Arab allies and up to 2016 was part of Iran’s regional axis.
        • Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen has noted how a peace accord with Sudan would strike a blow to Iran’s regional hegemony: “Sudan is an important country in the region, having previously served as a way station for weapons between Iran and Gaza. Taking it off the US list of state sponsors of terrorism will enable us to sign another agreement and develop several important tracks of cooperation that will greatly contribute to Israel.”
        • The deal is also expected to include Israeli aid and investment, particularly in technology and agriculture. The Americans and Israelis also promised to talk to allies in the Gulf and the West to bring investment and debt relief to Sudan.
        • The agreement is expected to be signed within the next few days, ahead of the US election

        First official UAE delegation visits Israel

        • Another significant milestone for regional peace was reached Tuesday when a delegation of senior UAE official, led by the finance and economy ministers, landed in Israel to sign further agreements as part of normalising relations between the two countries.
            • The delegation included US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US International Development Finance Corp. CEO Adam S. Boehler.
            • On arrival they were greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli government ministers. At the ceremony Netanyahu said: “Jews and Arabs are the descendants of one common ancestor: Avraham, Abraham, Ibrahim. It is in his name that we have designated this historic peace initiative. In his spirit, we wish to foster a Middle East of coexistence and cooperation, of mutual understanding and mutual respect.”
              • The agreements signed focused on economic cooperation and joint ventures; an agreement to encourage commercial trade between the two countries and a plan to provide investors with tax breaks; and an agreement to form a committee that will act to advance joint research projects in the spheres of cyber, agrotech, water-tech, artificial intelligence and the civilian space industry.

              Israel and Bahrain sign agreement to open diplomatic relations

                • A joint Israeli-US delegation flew to Bahrain Sunday for the signing of a joint communique between Israel and Bahrain on establishing diplomatic relations. 
                  • The Israeli delegation was led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Foreign Ministry director general Alon Ushpiz. They were joined by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the White House envoy to the peace process, Avi Berkowitz.
                  • Ben-Shabbat and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani signed a “Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic, peaceful, and friendly relations.” The two countries promised not to take hostile actions against one another and to act against hostile actions by third countries.
                    • The two countries also signed eight separate Memorandum of Understandings in economic cooperation, civil aviation, cooperation between the ministries of finance, communications and post, agriculture, cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs, exemption of visa requirements for diplomats and cooperation between their respective Chambers of Commerce.

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