On Friday 23 October 2020, Abdalla Hamdok, the Prime Minister of Sudan, along with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's sovereign council, entered into an agreement with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to normalise diplomatic relations between Sudan and Israel. Sudan is the third Arab state recently to enter into such an agreement with Israel, following the United Arab Emirates' announcement of the Abraham Accord in August 2020, which was shortly followed by the Kingdom of Bahrain's agreement to  sign  the Abraham Accord and enter into its own agreement with Israel. Our most recent update on the UAE and Bahrain's progress with implementing their respective agreements with Israel can be accessed here:

Like the UAE and Bahrain's agreements with Israel, the agreement between Sudan and Israel was also brokered by the United States. The three countries have issued a joint statement announcing that "the leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations" to " improve regional security and unlock new opportunities for the people of Sudan, Israel, the Middle East, and Africa." The joint announcement sets out that the leaders of Sudan and Israel have agreed the following:

  • to begin economic and trade relations, with an initial focus on agriculture;  
  • delegations will meet in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements of cooperation in those areas as well as in agriculture technology, aviation, migration issues and other areas for the benefit of the two peoples; and
  • to work together to build a better future and advance the cause of peace in the region. 

It has been reported that, as part of the deal, the United States has, in principle, agreed to remove Sudan from the United States' list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. The US Congress now has 45 days to review this proposal and either approve or block it.

UAE cabinet approves resolution endorsing the Abraham Accord, diplomatic relations underway

Following our recent updates on the Abraham Accord, the landmark agreement reached between the United Arab Emirates ("UAE") and Israel on Thursday 13 August 2020 and formally signed on 15 September 2020 at a ceremony in the USA, the UAE Cabinet has now formally endorsed the Abraham Accord, paving the way for it to be introduced into UAE law.

On Monday 19 October 2020, the UAE Cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved a resolution to endorse the Abraham accord. The Cabinet also directed the commencement of the constitutional process to issue a federal decree ratifying the agreement between the two countries.

This follows the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approving the Abraham Accord on 12 October 2020. Israel's Knesset ( Parliament) also confirmed the decision of the Israeli Cabinet and formally approved the agreement on 15 October 2020.

Swiftly after the UAE Cabinet resolved to endorse the Abraham Accord, the UAE and Israel entered into four agreements during a diplomatic visit of UAE officials and leaders to Israel. It has been reported that the four agreements include: (1) an agreement to promote and protect investments (2) a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in science and innovation (3) an aviation agreement and (4) a visa-exemption agreement, under which the two countries will lift current visa requirements for its respective citizens.

The establishment of the Abraham Fund has also been announced. According to a statement released by the US embassy in Israel: "The US International Development Finance Corporation, the UAE, and Israel will mobilize more than 3 billion dollars in private sector-led investment and development initiatives to promote regional economic cooperation and prosperity in the Middle East and beyond."

The Emirates news agency, WAM also confirmed the establishment of the Abraham Fund, reporting that "The Abraham Fund will bolster regional trade, enable strategic infrastructure projects, and increase energy security through the provision of reliable and affordable access to electricity. The fund also aims to improve agricultural productivity and facilitate reliable and efficient access to clean water in the region."

Along with the announcement of the Abraham Fund, WAM also reported that the UAE, the USA and Israel have agreed to open a trilateral development office based in Israel. The role of the office will be "to identify and initiate strategic projects with a high developmental impact, including those that catalyse economic growth, improve standards of living, and create high-value, quality jobs."

The Kingdom of Bahrain, which is also a signatory to the Abraham Accord and has entered into its own agreement with Israel, also very recently signed a joint communique to establish diplomatic relations and also entered into a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). The MOU and joint communique set out Bahrain's agreement to cooperate with Israel in the telecommunications, commerce, air services and banking sectors.

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