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News > Sudan

Netanyahu-Burhan Meeting Blasted in Sudan

  • Israel had announced after the secret encounter that it agreed to normalize relations with Sudan.

    Israel had announced after the secret encounter that it agreed to normalize relations with Sudan. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 February 2020

"The protest movement rejects normalization with Israel and stands with the Palestinians," said Hisham al-Shawani, an activist and leading figure in the Sudanese protest movement.

News of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Monday meeting with the head of Sudan's sovereign council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, prompted protests in Khartoum, as even the country’s ministers said they were unaware of the meeting and heard about it through media.


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Israel had announced after the secret encounter that the two countries agreed to normalize their relations for the first time, which would make Sudan the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan, to have diplomatic ties with Israel.

"I took this step from the standpoint of my responsibility ... to protect the national security of Sudan and achieve the supreme interests of the Sudanese people," Al-Burhan said Tuesday in a statement.

Analysts in Sudan said the meeting could, to some extent, be seen as part of efforts to remove the country from a 1993 U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism," which has isolated it from international financial markets and harmed its economy.

Abdallah Hamdok, who was named prime minister in August, months after longtime ruler Omar al Bashir was ousted, urged Washington to remove Khartoum from the list during an address at the United Nations General Assembly

He repeated his request in December as he became the first Sudanese leader to officially visit the U.S but his efforts -contrary to those of al-Burhan- were unsuccessful.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Monday the meeting with Netanyahu and "thanked the Sudanese leader for his leadership in normalizing ties with Israel." A day earlier, Pompeo had invited al-Burhan to visit the U.S.

Meanwhile, people in Sudan strongly rejected the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel. 


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Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC),  a coalition of opposition groups that will share power with the military for three years, condemned al-Burhan's secret encounter.

The FFC described Tuesday the move as "a clear violation of the country's Constitutional Declaration", which was signed in August to pave the way for civilian rule.

"Fundamental changes to a political issue of such importance, as the relationship with Israel [is], should be decided by the Sudanese people through channels that represent them," the coalition said.

Sudanese public, especially activists who took part in the uprising against al-Bashir, also firmly reacted against the meeting.

"This meeting goes against all our revolutionary principles and what we fought for, for months. The protest movement rejects normalization with Israel and stands with the Palestinians," said activist and leading figure in the protest movement Hisham al-Shawani.

The unannounced meeting came two days after the Arab League, of which Sudan is a member, rejected the U.S. President Donald Trump's 'peace' plan, disclosed in the presence of Netanyahu last week in Washington.

Under the plan dubbed “the deal of the century,” Israel would be allowed to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. It would have the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians were offered limited self-rule in Gaza, small portions of the West Bank, a village in the outskirts of Jerusalem as a capital, and some desertic areas of Israel, in exchange for complying with a long list of conditions. 

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