Sudan Says Can't Normalize Ties With Israel for Now, but Pompeo Reports 'Positive Developments'

Prime Minister Hamdok tells U.S. state secretary transitional government is not mandated to normalize ties

Noa Landau
Reuters
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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, greeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in Khartoum.
A handout photo from Sudan's Prime Minister's office shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, greeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 25, 2020. Credit: Handout/Office of Sudan's Prime Minister/ AFP
Noa Landau
Reuters

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday that the country's transitional government was not mandated to normalize ties with Israel, its cabinet spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.

However, Pompeo and Hamdok discussed "positive developments in the Sudan-Israel relationship" during their meeting, according to a U.S. State Department statement. 

Hamdok reaffirmed the importance of separating normalization of ties from a U.S. decision on removing Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, Faisal Saleh said.

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Senior Sudanese officials have sent seemingly contradictory messages in recent days concerning the country’s willingness to establish official diplomatic relations with Israel, even though in practice such relations have existed for some time – and have even included an overt meeting between Netanyahu and Sudan's Sovereign Council chairman, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during Netanyahu’s visit to Uganda early this year.

Pompeo arrived in Sudan on Tuesday from Israel, on what he called the first official non-stop flight between the two countries. "Happy to announce that we are on the FIRST official NONSTOP flight from Israel to Sudan!" Pompeo said on Twitter.

Pompeo arrived in Israel Monday for a trip that is part of U.S. efforts to enlist additional Muslim countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, in the wake of the normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates.

American officials said Pompeo may also visit another country after Sudan and Bahrain. Sources familiar with his tour said the extra stop will likely be Oman.

Additionally, pompeo and the Sudanese prime minister discussed "achieving mutually beneficial agreement among Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam."  

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