Sudan/Israel ties no done deal


Sudan cast doubt on early normalisation of historically hostile ties with Israel, a day after Israeli officials said the countries leaders met and were working to that goal.

Sudan’s cabinet discussed that meeting, which it had not yet been informed about. It summoned leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change for consultations, FFC sources said.

Bilateral relations have never been normalised and doing so would likely raise hackles in Sudan and the wider Arab world, especially at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promoting a new US peace plan rejected by Palestinians.

Sudan is anxious to rebuild links with the world after decades of isolation under Islamist Bashir and be removed from the US list of countries considered state sponsors of terrorism.

Israeli officials said on Monday Netanyahu met Sudan sovereign council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan for two hours in Uganda.

A Sudan government spokesman said officials were waiting for “clarification” on Burhan’s return.

Burhan is the most senior figure in the first phase of a power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilian parties following Bashir’s overthrow.

The US listing impeded badly needed international financial assistance and commercial activity in Sudan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Burhan by phone “for leadership in normalising ties with Israel,” his spokesperson said and Washington invited Burhan to visit later this year.

Yoav Gallant, an Israeli security cabinet member from Netanyahu’s Likud party, said in a Twitter post after the PM’s meeting with Burhan: “Country after country wants to draw close to Israel and improve ties. Israeli power is the key to success – not grovelling.”