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Israeli delegation said to visit Sudan, meeting with leaders involved in coup

Report says officials held talks with top generals to try to gain a better impression of unfolding situation and how it affects efforts to normalize diplomatic ties

People chant slogans inside a building under construction during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Pro-democracy groups called for mass protest marches across the country Saturday to press demands for re-instating a deposed transitional government and releasing senior political figures from detention. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)
People chant slogans inside a building under construction during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Pro-democracy groups called for mass protest marches across the country Saturday to press demands for re-instating a deposed transitional government and releasing senior political figures from detention. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

An Israeli delegation reportedly visited Sudan in recent days, meeting with military leaders involved in the recent coup in order to gain a better impression of the volatile situation in the north African country and how it might impact efforts to finalize an agreement to normalize diplomatic ties.

The delegation, which likely included representatives from the Mossad spy agency, met with Abdel Rahim Hamdan Dagalo, a prominent general in the Rapid Support Forces, a Sudanese paramilitary force that took part in the coup carried out last month, the Walla news site reported Monday.

Dagalo had been part of a Sudanese military delegation that visited Israel several weeks earlier, meeting with members of the National Security Council and other officials in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Israeli officials told Walla that while the sides discussed the political situation in Sudan and the stability of the civilian government during the Israel visit, the Sudanse did not offer any indication that they would be carrying out a coup and deposing the civilian-led government later that month.

While much of the Western world has condemned the coup, Israel has remained noticeably silent. Sudanese military leaders have taken note of the response in Jerusalem and believe it constitutes approval of their actions, the report said.

It was the military, not the civilian leadership, in Sudan that played a more active role in advancing normalization with Israel last year.

Last Monday, the Sudanese military detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other top officials, dissolved the government, declared a nationwide state of emergency, and launched a deadly crackdown against peaceful protesters.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan — Sudan’s de facto leader since the 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir — led the takeover, saying it was meant to “rectify the course” of the post-Bashir transition.

Burhan had been the more prominent player leading normalization efforts in Israel.

Pro-democracy activists have been rounded up since the military takeover, and US officials estimate that 20 to 30 protesters have been killed by the military.

Briefing reporters on condition of anonymity last Friday, a senior US official said he didn’t think now was the time for Washington to move forward with efforts to pressure Sudan into finalizing its normalization deal with Israel.

Former president Donald Trump agreed to support Sudan, including by removing the country from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, after it consented under US pressure to normalize relations with Israel.

“[The Abraham Accords are] good for the whole – good for Sudan, it’s good for the region,” the official said.

“But I just do not see us pushing a military government on this issue right now, given the fact that we do not see Sudan being stable as long as there’s a military domination,” the official added.

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