Israel to send $5 million of wheat to Sudan

Israel will send $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Sunday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Israel to send $5 million of wheat to Sudan

  • A tripling of the bread price late in 2018 was the initial trigger for street protests against Bashir that led to his ouster
  • The northeast African country consumes two million tons of wheat annually, according to official figures, relying heavily on imports

JERUSALEM: Israel will send $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Sunday, just days after an announcement that the two countries have agreed to normalize relations.
“We are looking forward to a warm peace and are sending $5 million worth of wheat immediately to our new friends in Sudan,” Netanyahu’s office said on Twitter.
Sudan has embarked on a rocky transition under a joint civilian-military administration since the April 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, but it has struggled with severe economic woes, including a sharp depreciation of the Sudanese pound and skyrocketing consumer prices.
A tripling of the bread price late in 2018 was the initial trigger for street protests against Bashir that led to his ouster.
The northeast African country consumes two million tons of wheat annually, according to official figures, relying heavily on imports.
“Israel will be working closely with the USA to assist Sudan’s transition,” Netanyahu added.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an accord at the White House last month to normalize ties with the Jewish state, but Sudan carries added symbolism as an Arab nation that has been at war with Israel.
News of the Sudan-Israel normalization came on Friday, shortly after US President Donald Trump declared that Washington was formally moving to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation that strangled Khartoum’s economy for decades.
Sudan will be only the fifth Arab country to forge diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
“Soon an Israeli delegation will meet in Sudan with a Sudanese counterpart in order to discuss cooperation in many fields including migration, which we are discussing,” Netanyahu said, in remarks at the start of a cabinet meeting Sunday.
“We are expanding the circle of peace. Additional countries will yet join only if we consistently adhere to this policy.”
The move to normalize ties has laid bare deep societal splits in Sudan, with some calling it a betrayal and others viewing it as a way to save the sinking economy.


Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

Updated 25 min 5 sec ago

Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

  • “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran” minister tweeted

JEDDAH: Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill requiring the government to boost uranium enrichment by 20 percent and end UN inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The move is being viewed by analysts as a show of defiance after the recent killing of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an assassination for which Tehran has accused other countries of masterminding.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was “desperate” to blame the Kingdom for anything negative that happened in Iran.

“Will he blame us for the next earthquake or flood?” he tweeted. “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assassinations; unlike Iran, which has done so since the Khomeini Revolution in 1979.

“Ask us and ask many other countries who have lost many of their citizens due to Iran’s criminal and illegal behavior,” Al-Jubeir added.

The latest bill would require another parliamentary vote to pass, as well as approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog. Moreover, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all nuclear policies.

“There is no doubt that this step constitutes a threat, raising it to 20 percent means that it is close to building a nuclear bomb,” political analyst and international relations scholar Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “The region is promised with a dark and unstable period.”

He said that the move indicated the Iranian regime’s insistence on destabilizing the region, and its determination to win the race to obtain nuclear weapons.

Enriching uranium to 20 percent is below the threshold needed for nuclear weapons but higher than that required for civilian applications. It would also commission new centrifuges at nuclear facilities at Natanz and the underground Fordo site.

“Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons or its proximity to achieving that goal will be a great danger to the region, and countries will seek to protect themselves, which will mean that everyone will resort to obtaining nuclear weapons. Fakhrizadeh’s death suggests that Iran was waiting for this opportunity to escalate,” Al-Shehri added.

The official IRNA news agency said 251 lawmakers in the 290-seat chamber voted in favor, after which many began chanting slogans against the US and Israel.

The bill would give European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal three months to ease sanctions on Iran’s key oil and gas sector, and to restore its access to the international banking system.

“Many technical issues related to the nuclear bomb creation were not closely followed up by P5+1 (the UN Security Council’s permanent members of China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US, plus Germany),” said Al-Shehri.

“We also should not forget that Iran was not clear and was preventing and limiting inspections at its nuclear facilities, moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency did not do its work properly so that the world could breathe easily.

“Iran may have the nuclear bomb by now without the international community taking any action against it.

“The assassination of a scientist will not change the equation, even the strikes on Iranian facilities would not affect the real Iranian infrastructure.

“Iran wasn’t confronted the way that would make the world comfortable, nor the way that a terrorist rogue state should have been treated as it distributed terrorism through its militias, ballistic missiles, and drones in the region,” he added.