Sudanese Envoy in Israel to Promote Ties, Source Says

The visit, which neither government has confirmed or commented on, follows a string of moves to bolster relations and promote democratic rule in Sudan

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Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during an interview, in Khartoum, Sudan in December.
Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during an interview, in Khartoum, Sudan in December. Credit: EL TAYEB SIDDIG/ REUTERS

A Sudanese envoy was in Israel on Wednesday in order to promote ties between the two countries, a source with close knowledge of the visit said.

The presidential envoy arrived in Israel at the beginning of the week, the source said.

According to the Saudi-based Al-Arabiya news site, a Sudanese source said that "senior military and intelligence leaders" were part of the delegation visiting Israel. 

Israel and Sudan announced in 2020 that they would normalize relations, but ties were never formalized. 

There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli and Sudanese government spokespeople. The Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment.

People protest against last year’s military coup, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday.Credit: Marwan Ali /AP

Last week, the newly appointed U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, included Israel in his current round of travel to governments promoting democratic civilian rule in Sudan. 

Satterfield’s appointment and visit came after an Israeli delegation reportedly met with top Sudanese general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Khartoum’s military-run ruling council, the previous month. 

The visit was not reported in the Sudanese media, but the opposition still slammed the military council for hosting the Israeli delegation. 

The Sudanese military seized power on October 25, upending the East African state’s fragile transition to democratic rule after President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades of autocratic rule was ended by his removal in April 2019. The country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, resigned last month, leaving the military in full control. However, the political stalemate has led to violent demonstrations leaving dozens of protesters dead.

Following the coup, the U.S. directly appealed to Israel to use its nascent ties with Sudan to prevent violent escalation. The direct appeal came months after the two states agreed to normalize ties and Sudan’s cabinet in turn repealed a 1958 law forbidding diplomatic and business relations with Israel. 

Israel’s efforts to bolster diplomatic relations with Sudan have lagged behind the other countries with which it normalized ties in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords. A source close to Israeli-Sudanese talks previously told Haaretz that “the internal situation in the country has made it difficult for Sudan to promote ties with Israel the same way the other countries have,” referring to the UAE and Bahrain.

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