Sudan government not mandated to normalize Israel ties, Pompeo told during visit

Sudan government not mandated to normalize Israel ties, Pompeo told during visit
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A handout picture provided by Sudan's Prime Minister's office on August 25, 2020, shows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (R) in Khartoum. (AFP/Sudan Prime Minister Office)
Sudan government not mandated to normalize Israel ties, Pompeo told during visit
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A handout picture provided by Sudan's Foreign Media Council shows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) posing for a picture with Sudan's Sovereign Council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Khartoum on August 25, 2020. (AFP/Sudan Foreign Media Council)
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Updated 26 August 2020

Sudan government not mandated to normalize Israel ties, Pompeo told during visit

Sudan government not mandated to normalize Israel ties, Pompeo told during visit
  • PM Hamdok reaffirmed the importance of separating normalization of ties from a US decision on removing Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism

JEDDAH: Sudan on Tuesday rebuffed efforts by the US to encourage the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Sudan’s transitional government had “no mandate” to take such a step.
“The transitional period in Sudan is being led by a wide alliance with a specific agenda — to complete the transition, achieve peace and stability in the country and hold free elections,” government spokesman Faisal Saleh said.
Hamdok told Pompeo that his interim government “does not have a mandate beyond these tasks or to decide on normalization with Israel.”
The rejection was a setback to a US-backed campaign for Israel to establish closer ties with the Arab world after the surprise Aug. 13 agreement with the UAE. That deal was followed up on Tuesday with unprecedented security talks between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mohammed Al-Bawardi, the UAE minister of state for defense. “We share important security interests, and collaboration will strengthen regional stability,” Gantz’s office said.

Israel remains technically at war with Sudan, which for years supported hard-line Islamist forces under former dictator Omar Bashir, and is on the US State Department blacklist of backers of terrorism.
Hamdok also urged the US not to link “the subject of lifting Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list and the subject of normalization with Israel,” his spokesman said.
The coalition that led Sudan’s protest movement, the Forces of Freedom and Change, also rejected diplomatic ties with Israel and defended “the right of Palestinians to their land and to a free and dignified life.”
Hamdok’s office said he had made the same point to Pompeo, the first US secretary of state to visit Sudan since Condoleezza Rice in 2005.

 

Pompeo also met Sudan’s Sovereign Council chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan for talks that the State Department said would express US “support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Burhan in February in Uganda and announced that they had agreed to cooperate toward normalizing ties. Sudan’s Cabinet later denied that Burhan had made such a promise.
Sudan’s joint civilian-military transitional government has pledged to break with the Bashir era, and launched a raft of social and political reforms. Bashir is on trial over the Islamist-backed coup that brought him to power over three decades ago.
The government in Khartoum hopes Washington will remove it from terrorism blacklist as it seeks to rejoin the international community and attract more aid and investment.

 


Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations

Updated 47 min 29 sec ago

Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations

Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations
  • Alternate Prime Minister welcomed the return of contact between the Palestinian Authority and Israel
  • He called on Palestinians to coordinate with Israel on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the Palestinians to return to negotiations and coordination regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel will provide COVID-19 vaccines for the Palestinians, Israeli Defense Minister said on Friday.

Gantz addressed the Palestinian public directly for the first time in a video posted on the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories's (COGAT) Arabic language Facebook page.

COGAT is a unit in the Israeli Ministry of Defense that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the government,  international organizations and the Palestinian Authority.

The minister also claimed that Tel Aviv was ready to push for large projects in Gaza, provided that prisoners and missing persons are returned.

The proposed projects with Gaza will allow the exit of workers and joint industrial zones, he added.

“The Middle East is changing,” the minister said, touching on recent normalization agreements made between Israel and Arab countries.

“It is in your interest to integrate and to return to the negotiation table and create hope for the future of the next generations,” he said.