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Sudan Transitional Government Divided Over Israeli Delegation’s Visit

Sudan Transitional Government Divided Over Israeli Delegation’s Visit

Tuesday, 24 November, 2020 - 11:15
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in Khartoum in October 2020 (AFP)

A visit by an Israeli delegation to Khartoum on Monday has revealed a clear division between the civilian and military components of the transitional government.

While Abdalla Hamdok’s government has denied knowing anything about the delegation’s visit, its mission, and the parties it would meet with, the military component was reported to have arranged the visit without referring to the premier.

Minister of Culture and Information and the official spokesperson for the Transitional Government Faisal Mohamed Salih told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that no party has contacted the government about the visit.

“We do not have any information about its members, its mission, or who it will meet with.”

Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that a business jet landed at Khartoum Airport at 10:30 am on Monday, carrying a small Israeli technical delegation, and was scheduled to leave at 5 pm the same day.

Meanwhile, sources from Khartoum’s airport denied knowing the party that granted the permission for the plane’s landing, and no Sudanese party has revealed the goal of neither this visit nor its nature.

The visit was arranged by the military component in the country’s Sovereign Council, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, affirming that the transitional government was not informed about the visit.

The delegation, which included a specific group of Israeli officials, was scheduled to meet with Sudanese military officials, in preparation for a visit by a large Israeli delegation in the near future to discuss bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, agriculture, and water.

Several sources in Israel have affirmed that a delegation was sent to Sudan on Monday, in the first visit since October’s announcement of normalization of relations between the two countries.

Israeli Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) said that Head of the Israeli National Security Council Middle East, Africa, and Special Liaison Desk Maoz had left Israel on Monday morning heading to Khartoum after both countries pledged to normalize relations.

Asharq Al-Awsat learned that the delegation was scheduled to visit Khartoum last week. But, even back then, the government denied being informed of the visit.

In October 2020, the Jewish state reached and Sudan reached an initial US-brokered deal to gradual steps on normalizing relations.

The deal followed US pressure and pledge to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, allow Khartoum access to international aid, release Sudan’s frozen funds in the US and establish full relations with Israel.

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