Sudan and Israel discuss establishing 'fruitful relations’

Friday February 03 2023
Sudan's Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (right) receiving Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in the capital Khartoum on February 2, 2023. PHOTO | SOVEREIGN COUNCIL OF SUDAN | AFP


Sudan and Israel have intensified talks to establish ties in what could be an expanding diplomatic victory for the Jewish state in the Arab world.

On Thursday, Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan the leader of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Elie Cohen in Khartoum where they discussed enhancing the prospects for joint cooperation, especially in the security and military fields.

A statement issued by the Sovereignty Council said that Al-Burhan met Cohen and his accompanying delegation in Khartoum, in the presence of Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadig. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli official – described as a major – saying that Sudan is preparing to sign an agreement to normalise relations with Tel Aviv.

The statement from the Sudanese Sovereign Council said the Israeli foreign minister arrived in the country on Thursday, January 2, 2013, for a one-day official visit.

‘Establish fruitful relations’

“[They] discussed ways to establish fruitful relations with Israel and enhance the prospects for joint cooperation between Khartoum and Tel Aviv in the fields of agriculture, energy, health, water and education, especially in the security and military fields,” it said.


Al-Burhan, according to the statement, called on “the Israeli side to achieve stability between Israel and the Palestinian people.” The statement pointed out that the meeting also dealt with “the role played by Sudan in addressing security issues in the region”.

Cohen previously visited Sudan in January 2021 when he was the intelligence minister, and Sudan said at that time that Justice Minister Nasreddin Abdel Bari had signed the Abraham Accords with Israel during a visit by then US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Normalised relations

In late 2020, Israel and Sudan announced the normalisation of relations between them, after then US President Donald Trump pledged to remove Sudan from the list of what Washington considers “state sponsors of terrorism” and provide aid to Khartoum. However, Sudan has not yet officially signed the agreement.

Since the meeting between Al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Entebbe, Uganda in February 2020, the pace of normalisation of ties has accelerated. It is noteworthy that the Sudanese army led the movement to normalise relations with Israel, while the civilian groups were more reluctant to do so.

Observers believe that the issue of normalisation is characterised by great complexity on several levels, which requires community dialogues and a decision issued by an elected legislative authority that responds to the vital interests of Sudan. The normalisation process   led by the coup leaders without regard to the popular institutional will is considered a threat to the democratic transition process in Sudan.