US suspends Abraham Accords assistance to Sudan, urges Israel to call for democracy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Biden administration has suspended assistance to Sudan, including assistance related to its normalization deal with Israel, and wants Israel to call out the bloody coup that removed the country’s civilian government last year.

“The United States is not moving forward at this time with assistance originally committed to Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government in connection with its efforts to improve Sudan’s bilateral relationship with Israel,” a State Department spokesman said in an email Friday in response to a query. “This includes wheat shipments and certain development and trade and investment assistance.”

Jewish Insider first reported the development.

The spokesman noted that the US also suspended foreign assistance unrelated to the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab states, because of the coup. He said the Biden administration expected Israel to join in the call for a return to a democratically elected government.

“Any moves made in this regard by Sudan’s military leaders would not enjoy credibility with the Sudanese people,” he said. “We strongly encourage the State of Israel to join us and the broader international community in vocally pressing for Sudan’s military leaders to cede power to a credible civilian-led transitional government.”

Sudan’s military seized power last fall, arresting the country’s prime minister. Protesters turned out in force and dozens were killed by security forces in demonstrations.

US president Donald Trump talks on the phone with the leaders of Sudan and Israel, as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, left, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, and national security adviser Robert O’Brien, applaud in the Oval Office, October 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Israel has not commented on the situation, and a minister in the former civilian government told Haaretz last month that this could be seen as backing for the coup.

The Trump administration in its final months brokered normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain, as well as Sudan. The full agreement with Sudan has yet to come to full fruition because of instability in the country.

The Biden administration, in one of its few areas of agreement with its predecessor, has committed to advancing the Abraham Accords.

“As for the Abraham Accords, as we’ve said, they are a positive development that have had clear benefits for Israel and the region,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition that he not be named, as is State Department custom. “The United States will continue to look for opportunities to engage with Israel and other countries to normalize relations and expand cooperation.”

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