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Israeli delegation secretly met Sudanese military officials in Khartoum – report

Meetings this week follow reported trip by Sudanese official to Israel in February, warning by ousted ambassador that Israel losing support among civilians by backing military rule

People chant slogans during a demonstration against the killing of dozens by Sudanese security forces since the October 25, 2021 military takeover, in Khartoum, Sudan, on January 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)
People chant slogans during a demonstration against the killing of dozens by Sudanese security forces since the October 25, 2021 military takeover, in Khartoum, Sudan, on January 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

An Israeli delegation of security officials met with Sudanese military officials during a secret visit to Khartoum earlier this week, public broadcaster Kan reported Friday, citing Sudanese sources.

There were no further details given.

Israeli delegations have reportedly visited the north African country several times since Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power in a coup last October.

And in February, reports indicated that a top Sudanese official secretly visited Israel in order to advance relations between the countries. The reports did not identify the representative or provide further details about the visit.

In an interview with the Al Arabiya network published in December, al-Burhan said that normalization with Israel was “necessary to return Sudan to the international community.”

It was the military, not the civilian leadership, in Sudan that has played a more active role in advancing normalization with Israel. Al-Burhan had been a prominent player leading normalization efforts with Israel.

Since then, however, he has repeatedly said that Sudan’s relations with the Jewish state were strictly focused on security, intelligence and military cooperation.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum, on October 26, 2021. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

Last month, ousted Sudanese ambassador to the United State, Noureddine Sati, who was axed after speaking out against last year’s military coup, accused Jerusalem of backing the coup and warned that it was not the way to win over the country’s citizens.

“If you want the friendship of the Sudanese people, if you want normalization with the Sudanese people and Sudan, you need to come in the wide front door, from the door of the Sudanese people,” he said, referring to elected officials and the public who voted them into power.

“Israel and others need to understand, that there will be no stability in Sudan as long as there is military rule,” he insisted. “Don’t stand with the army that is killing the Sudanese, the Sudanese will not forget it.”

Sudan and Israel agreed to normalize ties in 2020, although progress has been slow amid Sudanese government instability and anti-Israel sentiment among the Sudanese public.

Screen capture from video of ousted Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Noureddine Sati, during an interview with the Kan public broadcaster, March 13, 2022. (Twitter)

Al-Burhan seized power and detained elected Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on October 25, 2021, but after international condemnation and mass protests he reinstated the premier nearly a month later, in a deal that many in the pro-democracy movement opposed.

In January, however, Hamdok announced his resignation as prime minister amid an ongoing political deadlock.

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