Sudan's transitional government signed Thursday in Addis Ababa a ceasefire agreement with Abdelaziz al-Hilu's faction of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) that will jumpstart negotiations to grant social and political equality to residents of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, many of whom are Christians who faced persecution during Omar al-Bashir's Islamist regime. Accordingly, the agreement stipulates: "For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of 'separation of religion and state.'" This comes after the transitional government on Monday signed a peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front coalition of rebel groups that addressed land rights, refugees' return, and integrating guerilla armies into the national military. The Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement and the SPLM-N (Agar) faction are the two major rebel groups yet to reach a truce with Khartoum.
Two Libyans filed lawsuits Thursday against Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar in the Eastern District of Virginia under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 for killing and injuring family members through attacks on civilian neighborhoods during an "unlawful siege" of Benghazi in 2016. The plaintiffs are seeking $50.5 million in compensation. Last February, two other families filed lawsuits against Haftar and two of his sons under the same statute for the LNA torturing to death family members in 2014. The law is infrequently used because perpetrators rarely have assets within US courts' reach. However, Haftar and his sons own 17 properties in Virginia worth an estimated $8 million.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Friday Iran allowed its inspectors to visit and take environmental samples from a site where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s. On June 19, the IAEA's Board of Governors adopted a resolution censuring Iran for blocking inspectors' access to two sites and calling on Tehran "to fully cooperate with the Agency and satisfy the Agency's requests without any further delay, including by providing prompt access to the locations." It was the first time since 2012 that the IAEA's Board of Governors passed a resolution critical of Iran and only China and Russia voted against it. While Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iran's representative to the IAEA, stated at the time, "Iran fully rejects this resolution and will respond appropriately," IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran head Ali Akbar Salehi issued a joint statement in August saying, "Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations." An inspection of the second site will occur later in September. The IAEA also reported Friday that, as of August 25, Iran had stockpiled 2,105.4 kg of enriched uranium, far above the 300 kg limit imposed by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and continues to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5 percent, higher than the 3.67 percent permitted by the deal.
Serbia and Kosovo Friday signed documents signaling their intention to normalize economic relations. As part of the agreement Kosovo is instituting a one-year moratorium on joining additional international organizations while Serbia will drop its objections to countries recognizing Kosovo's independence. Israel and Kosovo later in the day announced they would establish diplomatic relations and Kosovo would open its embassy in Jerusalem, making it the first Muslim-majority nation to do so. Earlier Friday, Serbia declared it would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
United Arab Emirates
An anonymous UAE Foreign Ministry official told Israel HaYom, "I think the Israelis will be able to obtain travel visa to the UAE from an embassy that will open in Israel after three to five months from now" and "Abu Dhabi is considering opening a consulate in Haifa or Nazareth that works alongside the embassy in Israel." One reason the official gave for possibly opening a consulate in Nazareth is "to be available to the Arab population of Israel, whom we consider an important partner for warm peace."
The Saudi-led coalition backing President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi's internationally recognized government on Friday shot down a Houthi explosive-laden drone over Yemeni airspace. The Iranian-backed rebel movement has increased the frequency of its attacks on the kingdom, Saudi Arabia earlier this week destroying a drone targeting its Abha International Airport as well as a remotely controlled Houthi explosive-laden boat in the Red Sea.
Micah Levinson is the Washington, DC Resident Fellow at the Middle East Forum