For a country that has spent almost last three decades being an international pariah, and under the shadows of a dictator who pushed the country to the brink of collapse, Sudan has made some commendable progress in the last few months towards ensuring stability in the country and improving its relations with the West and in the region. First it was the signing of the peace agreement between the transitional government and a coalition of rebel leaders in September, and now by agreeing to nomalise ties with Israel, Khartoum is ushering in a new era that will truly detach it from the past and pave way for a more progressive future — a future that promises to bring nothing but prosperity and openness to the people and the country. The transitional government of Abdalla Hamdok has been making bold moves. It is trying to sow the seeds of democracy, and build relationships with countries that will eventually help Sudan emerge out of its shell and develop.
Sudan will explore economic and trade ties with Israel, which is a promising start to begin with. But to truly understand the significance of this historic announcement, one must revisit the pages of recent history. In 1967, Khartoum hosted the famous Arab League summit in which eight Arab nations approved what became known as the “Three Nos”—no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel. For the last fifty years, this has been the reigning principle in the country. It takes a visionary leader to change the course of a country and guide its people on a path that might, at first, seem contrary to their beliefs and practices, but in the long run proves to be a turning point. A peace deal with Israel will surely ruffle a few feathers among leaders and allies in Hamdok’s government; it could also lead to protests, signs of which are already showing, but it would also set Sudan on a path of progress, the results of which will be easy to see in just a few years. When religion and ideologies are separated from politics, change happens. This is truly a moment of reckoning for Sudan. Its people and political leaders across spectrum should take the leap of faith and vote for this peace deal and not debate for the sake of politics. Sudan is already being taken off the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, which will open doors for the much-needed help from international financial organisations such as the World Bank. American companies will be allowed to do business in Sudan following the move. Besides, a closer cooperation regionally would surely prove more helpful as Sudan looks to rebuild itself. A new chapter is being written in the Arab world. More countries should vote for peace and development.
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Is it unethical? Sure, it is — unless you believe in transparency and inform both parties about the matter and they give you the go-ahead (which is unlikely in most cases)