Israeli delegation in Khartoum hails new first in relations with Sudan

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Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has led a delegation to Khartoum, a spokesman said on Tuesday, months after Sudan and the Jewish state struck a deal to normalize ties.

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The Monday visit marked the first time an Israeli minister headed a delegation to the African state, Cohen’s office said.

Sudanese state media did not report the visit.

The Israeli intelligence ministry said members of the delegation met head of state General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim for talks on “diplomatic, security and economic issues.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen. (Reuters)
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen. (Reuters)

“A first-ever memorandum on these topics was signed between the Sudanese defense minister and Cohen,” it said.

The sides also discussed “deepening intelligence cooperation.”

“The Sudanese authorities briefed the Israeli delegation on their progress on cancelling the law boycotting Israel, and amending the law imprisoning Sudanese migrants, including to Israel, who return to Sudan,” the ministry added.

Read more:

US, Sudan sign ‘Abraham Accords’ normalizing ties with Israel: US embassy

Sudan confirms Israeli visit to Khartoum

Israel sends first delegation to Sudan since normalization of relations

Sudan agreed to normalize ties with Israel in October last year and an Israeli delegation visited Khartoum the following month.

On January 6, Sudan signed the “Abraham Accords” normalizing ties with Israel, making it the third Arab country to do so after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year.

Morocco also normalized its ties with Israel in December.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, right. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, right. (AP)

Khartoum signed the accords less than a month after Washington removed it from its “state sponsors of terrorism” blacklist as part of a quid pro quo.

But protests against normalization have continued in Sudan. On January 17, dozens of protesters gathered outside the cabinet office in Khartoum and burned the Israeli flag.

Until last year, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries to have recognized Israel, in bilateral peace deals struck decades ago.

Cohen said his visit to Khartoum “laid the foundations for many important collaborations that will help Israel and Sudan, boost regional stability, deepen our ties with Africa and lead to more agreements with states in the region.”

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