US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes historic trip to Sudan

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Sudan as part of a Middle East tour.

Pompeo became the highest-ranking US official in more than a decade to visit Sudan. The visit comes weeks after the US-brokered deal, that will see a restoration of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The talks will also include Sudan wanting to be removed from the terror list so sanctions can be lifted.

The country has been listed since the 1990s when al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden lived there, as a guest of ex-President Omar al Bashir's government.

Bashir has since been overthrown and relations with the US have eased.

Pompeo will meet Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, who heads the Sovereign Council, the most powerful constituent of the transitional government that’s supposed to lead Sudan toward elections in 2022.

The country's leaders are desperate to end the country's economic isolation and gain access to the dollar-based international financial system to attract loans and investment.

One of the key conditions set by the US for Sudan to be removed from the list was to compensate the families of 17 US sailors who died when their ship, the USS Cole, was bombed by al-Qaeda at a port in Yemen in 2000. Sudan agreed to this in February.

Pompeo is also travelling to Bahrain and the UAE; with Iran, regional security issues, and "establishing and deepening Israel’s relationships in the region" high on the agenda.

The US and Israel are hopeful that other Arab nations will follow the UAE in normalising relations with Israel.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab renewed a call for a dialogue between governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

He said that Israel's suspension of annexation is an essential step towards a more peaceful Middle East.

"It is important to build on this new dynamic, and ultimately only the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority can negotiate the two state solution required to secure lasting peace," Raab said in a statement.