TEL AVIV: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday left Israel for Sudan, the next stop on his regional tour, on the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.
Video released by the US embassy in Jerusalem showed an official greeting Pompeo as he walked onto the plane, saying “You are now on a historic flight,” and the top US diplomat nodding in agreement.
Israel and Sudan do not have diplomatic relations and, barring a last-minute route change, it would be the first such non-stop flight, US officials said.
Happy to announce that we are on the FIRST official NONSTOP flight from Israel to Sudan! pic.twitter.com/eOXNsBAozC
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 25, 2020
Israel has regular commercial flights to Egypt, Sudan’s northern neighbor, with which it signed a peace agreement in 1979.
Pompeo’s trip, also taking in Bahrain and the UAE, comes in the wake of the August 13 announcement of a US-brokered normalization of relations between the Emirates and the Jewish state.
Speaking in Jerusalem on Monday, both Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that they were hopeful that other Arab states would follow suit.
The deal with the UAE is not strictly-speaking a peace deal as the two states have never been at war.
Israel is also technically at war with Sudan, which for years had supported hard-line Islamist forces but which is turning its back on the era of strongman Omar Al-Bashir who was ousted last year.