The signing of the agreement paves the way for the African country to normalise ties with Israel, enabling Khartoum to access more than $1 billion annually from the World Bank.

Sudanese PM Abdullah Hamdok, right, welcomes US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
Sudanese PM Abdullah Hamdok, right, welcomes US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (AP)

Sudan has signed the "Abraham Accords" with the US, paving the way for the African country to normalise ties with Israel.

A statement from the office of Sudan's Prime Minister said on Wednesday that Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari signed the accord with visiting US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The recent US-negotiated deals between Arab countries and Israel have been a major foreign policy achievement by President Donald Trump's administration. 

The signing came just over two months after Trump announced that Sudan would start to normalise ties with Tel Aviv.

Before Sudan, the Trump administration engineered diplomatic pacts late last year between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — the first since Jordan recognised Israel in the 1990s and Egypt in the 1970s. Morocco also established diplomatic ties with Israel.

The agreements are all with countries that are geographically distant from Israel and have played a minor role, if any, in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The accords have also contributed to the severe isolation and weakening of the Palestinians by eroding a longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only be given in return for concessions in the peace process.

Palestinians have called these deals a betrayal. 

Settling Sudan's debt

Both countries also agreed to settle the African country's debt to the World Bank, giving Sudan access to more than $1 billion.

Sudan's acting finance minister, Hiba Ahmed, and Mnuchin "signed a memorandum of understanding in Khartoum to provide a same-day bridge financing facility to clear Sudan's arrears to the World Bank," her office said in a statement. 

"This move will enable Sudan to regain access to over $1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years."

Sudan today has more than $60 billion in foreign debt. Relief from its arrears and access to foreign loans are widely seen as its gateway to economic recovery.

Mnuchin's is the first visit by a sitting US treasury chief to Sudan, the statement said. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in August became the first top American diplomat to visit Sudan since 2005 when Condoleezza Rice visited. 

Pompeo was also the most senior US official to visit the African country since last year’s ouster of Omar al Bashir.

Flurry of activity

Mnuchin’s visit came after a one-day-visit to Cairo, where he met with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, a close US ally. 

The stops are part of a flurry of activity during the final days of the Trump administration. Democrat Joe Biden becomes president on January 20.

The US treasury secretary met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and is scheduled to meet with other Sudanese leaders including General Abdel Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council.

The visit came "at a time when our bilateral relations are taking historical leaps towards a better future. We’re planning to make tangible strides today as our relations enter a new era," Hamdok tweeted.

READ MORE: US grants Sudan sovereign immunity over old attacks

Source: AP