WASHINGTON: Sudan on Friday agreed to be the latest Arab nation to recognize Israel, President Donald Trump announced in a new diplomatic coup for him days before US elections.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an accord at the White House last month to normalize relations with Israel but Sudan is arguably more significant as an Arab nation that has been at war with Israel.
Trump announced the agreement by Sudan's year-old civilian-backed government moments after he formally moved to end the nation's designation of a state sponsor of terrorism, which was a major goal for Khartoum.
Reporters were escorted into the Oval Office where Trump was on speakerphone with Sudan's leadership and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of the embattled Republican president.
"We are expanding their circle of peace so rapidly with your leadership," Netanyahu was heard saying.
Trump said: "There are many, many more coming."
A senior Trump aide, Judd Deere, said that Sudan and Israel "have agreed to the normalization of relations."
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Friday he welcomed joint efforts by Sudan, the United States and Israel to normalise ties between Tel Aviv and Khartoum.
"I welcome the joint efforts of the United States, Sudan and Israel to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel and I value all efforts aimed at establishing regional peace and stability," Sisi said in a tweet.
As part of the deal to get off the terror blacklist, the White House said that Sudan's transitional government had deposited $335 million to compensate survivors and family members of anti-US attacks that took place when former dictator Omar Al-Bashir welcomed Al-Qaeda.
"Today represents a momentous step forward in the United States-Sudan bilateral relationship and marks a pivotal turning point for Sudan," a White House statement said.
The deal with Sudan allows "for a new future of collaboration and support for its ongoing and historic democratic transition," it said.
Sudan's civilian prime minister, Abdulla Hamdok, thanked Trump on Twitter without mentioning recognition of Israel - a step he had earlier said he was not empowered to take.
"We're working closely with the US administration & Congress to conclude the SSTL removal process in a timely manner," Hamdok said, referring to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In Khartoum, a government source said that the call involved Trump, Hamdok, Netanyahu and Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
Trump had announced his plan to delist Sudan on Monday through Twitter. But in the days before he formally took the move, Israel sent a delegation to Khartoum to discuss normalization.
Trump, who is trailing in the polls ahead of the November 3 vote, has used his leverage over Sudan to press for recognition of Israel.