Sudan said it is ready to salvage elusive normalization with Israel

More than two years after saying it would normalize ties with Israel, Sudan is finally ready to officially join the US-brokered Abraham Accords, an Israeli official told Hebrew-language media on Wednesday.

The reports, which could not be verified, mark the latest twist in an ongoing saga that has seen Khartoum’s faltering steps to forge diplomatic relations with Israel been hampered by ongoing political instability in the African nation, including a coup. 2021 military.

According to the official, quoted by the Kan broadcaster and the Haaretz newspaper, US diplomats in the region with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told their Israeli counterparts that Sudan was preparing to finalize an agreement to join the Abraham Accords, the framework agreement under which the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco also normalized ties with Israel.

The official said that meetings had been held between Sudanese and Israeli officials in recent weeks, at the behest of the United States, paving the way for the revival of the deal.

Sudan initially announced it was ready to join the Abraham Accords as part of a deal that was also meant to benefit the financially distressed country with help from the United States and removal from the Washington state-sponsored terrorism blacklist. .

However, Khartoum never signed the full agreements, amid a disagreement between the country’s military and civilian leaders over normalization with Israel. Doing so would end decades of enmity from one of Israel’s staunchest enemies, which hosted a 1967 summit at which the Arab League adopted its no-engagement policy on Jerusalem.

Sudanese protesters take part in a demonstration against the military government on the anniversary of previous popular uprisings, in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, May 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

While the country’s now-ruling military junta had backed normalization, the effort took a back seat and in May last year the United States cut aid to Sudan in response to the coup, further delaying the effort.

According to the official, agreements with Mauritania and Indonesia may also be in the offing. Israel and Mauritania had ties from 1999 to 2009; Jerusalem and Jakarta have had friendly mid-level contacts for years.

The report came as Israel hosted Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who is scheduled to open an embassy for his country in Israel on Thursday.

“We view these relationships as extremely important, with a great country in the heart of Africa,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said when the two met in Jerusalem. “These are relationships that we want to take to new levels, to new heights, and your visit here in Israel and the opening of the embassy are an expression of this.”

In 2019, during Netanyahu’s last term, he and the late President Idriss Deby Itno, father of Mahamat Deby, announced the restoration of diplomatic relations. Chad had cut ties with Israel in 1972 under pressure from Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The elder Deby, who ruled the Muslim-majority nation for more than three decades, died in 2021 on the battlefield fighting rebels. His daughter replaced him as president at the head of a military junta.

Netanyahu has made expanding Israel’s ties in Africa a focus of his foreign policy in the past.

Landing in Israel on Tuesday night, Deby was met at the airport by Mossad chief David Barnea. The Chadian delegation then proceeded to the Mossad headquarters in Glilot for a celebratory meeting.

Mossad chief David Barnea (right) welcomes Chadian President Mahamat Deby at Ben Gurion airport, January 31, 2023 (courtesy)

The Mossad played a central role in maintaining discreet ties with Chad after 1972 and in working towards full normalization in recent years.

“We are full of hope,” Barnea said, “that other leaders in the Middle East and Africa will be inspired by this important agreement and move forward in their relations with Israel.”

The report on the progress with Sudan came on the same day that the US expressed anger at Khartoum over the release of a man convicted of the 2008 murder of a diplomat and US embassy employee in a Drive-by shooting in the Sudanese capital.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Abdel-Raouf Abu Zaid, the Sudanese man who was found guilty of the killings, remains a “specially designated global terrorist.”

He was found guilty of murdering John Granville, a US Agency for International Development official, and his Sudanese driver, Abdel Rahman Abbas. They were shot as they were returning home early on the morning of January 1, 2008, from a New Year’s Eve party.

Price said any suggestion that the United States agreed to the release as part of a US-Sudan deal was false.

Associated Press contributed to this report

you are a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago, to provide discerning readers like you must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other media outlets, we have not installed a paywall. But because the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Community of the Times of Israel.

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel. AD FREEas well as access exclusive content Available only to members of the Times of Israel community.

David Horovitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community

Join our community

Already a user? Sign in to stop watching this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *