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Can Israel’s symbolic victory turn Khartoum's famous ‘no’s’ into a ‘yes’?

Following last Thursday's announcement of a pending US-brokered agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the stage appears to be set for a new era of Israeli relations with the Arab world with the most recent possibility being a Sudan-Israel peace deal. An agreement with Sudan would be particularly significant because for the last 53 years, Sudan’s capital of Khartoum has been linked with the Palestinian and Arab world’s obstinate rejection of the Jewish state. It was there, in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, that the Arab League met to denounce Israel. It issued what has become known as the three noes of Khartoum. These were: no to recognition of Israel, no to negotiations with Israel and no to peace with Israel. While nothing is certain of course, a peace deal with Israel would erase the symbolism of Khartoum, turning Sudan from a country once known for its wall of obstinacy against Israel to one through which the gateways to the Arab world would now be open.

It would be premature to pop champagne bottles over a Sudan-Israel peace deal.Indeed, initial optimism that an agreement was in the works was dimmed somewhat late Tuesday night when Sudan’s Foreign Ministry distanced itself from statements its own spokesman Haidar Badawi al-Sadiq had made about efforts to achieve peace that were under way between his country and Israel.

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