Sudanese Prime Minister Rattled by Leader's Meeting With Netanyahu

Sudan's PM says all foreign affairs decisions should be made exclusively by Cabinet ■ Sudanese military says meeting aimed at ending country's status as terrorism sponsor

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Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2019.
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Kevin Hagen

Sudan’s prime minister appeared rattled Wednesday by the meeting this week between the head of his country's transitional council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insisting that all decisions related to Sudan's foreign affairs “should be made” exclusively by his Cabinet.

Prime Minister Abddalla Hamdok's remarks were latest in a flurry of comments from government officials, Sudanese political parties and public figures who were stunned by the meeting, which was kept secret until Netanyahu announced during the visit to Uganda.

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However, the Sudanese military backed Burhan's visit to Uganda, saying in a statement Wednesday that it endorsed the visit's “conclusions” and the Sudanese leader's efforts to “achieve the supreme interest of the national security and Sudan.” The statement made no mention of Netanyahu.

The spokesman for Sudan's armed forces, Brig. Amer Mohammed al-Hassan, said the meeting was part of efforts to help secure Sudan's removal from the United States' list of states that sponsor terror.

he designation dates back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted Osama bin Laden and other wanted militants. The U.S. and Israel are staunch allies.

Sudan was also believed to have served as a pipeline for Iran to supply weapons to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel was thought to have been behind airstrikes in Sudan that destroyed a convoy in 2009 and a weapons factory in 2012

From Uganda, Netanyahu declared that Israel and Sudan were working towards normalizing relations. For Israel, it was a major diplomatic breakthrough with a Muslim-majority African state.

Hamdok’s government said it wasn't consulted and only learned of the meeting through the media. Burhan is Sudan's de facto leader and heads its military-civilian transitional council established following autocrat Omar al-Bashir's ouster in a popular uprising that ended his 30-year rule last April.

“The road to meaningful change in Sudan is riddled with challenges and obstacles," Hamdok tweeted. “However, we must understand that abiding to legal institutional roles and responsibilities is key to building a truly democratic state."

“The transitional government as a whole must ensure accountability, responsibility and transparency in all decisions made,” he added.

Hamdok however welcomed Burhan’s statement later on Tuesday that Sudan still backs the Palestinian people's aspirations to have their independent state.

Khartoum has been a longtime member of the Arab League and joined other members at a meeting in Cairo on Saturday in rejecting President Donald Trump's plan for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that heavily favors Israel and all but extinguishing Palestinian hopes for their own state.

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