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Sudan and Israel to Revive “Full Diplomatic Ties” in Normalisation Agreement

February 3, 2023

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The Head of the Sovereignty Council, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, with the Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. | Photo Credit: Al Ahram Online

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, held talks in Sudan on 2 February with the Sudanese Head of Sovereignty Council, seeking to revive plans for full diplomatic ties between both states.The Sovereignty Council stated that it intended to pursue “fruitful relations with Israel,” which included cooperation in various sectors such as security and military.

The BBC noted that this “historic peace agreement” will be signed in Washington DC, in a few months’ time.

Sudanese officials also highlighted the importance of maintaining “stability between Israel and the Palestinian people.” However, their statements made no mention of opening embassies in either state.

Cohen is the first Israeli foreign minister to have officially visited Sudan, meeting with his counterpart Ali al-Sadiq on Thursday.

“It has been agreed to move towards the normalisation of relations,” the Sudanese foreign ministry stated, following Cohen and al-Sadiq’s meeting. Israel and Sudan are now motioning towards a “peace agreement,” according to Cohen.

“I’m happy to announce that during the visit, we have agreed to sign a peace agreement between Sudan and Israel,” Cohen said.

Normalisation agreements with Israel have increased across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), starting in 2020 when Sudan agreed to such an agreement alongside Morocco, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This was part of the United States-brokered ‘Abraham Accords’ which seeks to establish full diplomatic ties across the region.

While there is no immediate comment from Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that Israel will “continu[e] to expand the circle of peace with additional countries both near and far.”

According to Al Ahram, a breakthrough in Sudan could potentially aid Netanyahu in deflecting attention from the recent surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Although Sudan does not possess the wealth or influence of fellow Arab countries, such as the UAE and Bahrain, an agreement with an African country, aside from Egypt, would be a significant achievement.

For years, Sudan was a fierce and outspoken critic of Israel and as such, the United States deemed Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. It was the Trump cabinet who removed Sudan from the list in 2020, in an attempt to aid the country’s worsening economy and pariah status, providing an incentive to normalise relations with Israel.

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