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Sudan said disappointed with results of normalization with Israel

Israeli report says sources in Khartoum bemoan insufficient US investment, saying greater funds would lend more legitimacy to Arab nation’s joining of Abraham Accords

Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen (L) meets with Sudanese Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim in Khartoum on January 25, 2021 (Courtesy)
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen (L) meets with Sudanese Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim in Khartoum on January 25, 2021 (Courtesy)

Sudan is disappointed with the outcome of the normalization agreement with Israel amid insufficient US investment in the African country, according to an Israeli report Wednesday morning.

Many months after the deal was signed, Washington hasn’t fulfilled its promise to invest in agriculture and technology projects in Sudan, the Kan public broadcaster cited senior sources in Khartoum as saying.

The sources noted that the normalization had been controversial inside the Sudanese government, and considerable financial investments would have helped market the agreement to the public.

In January, Sudan signed onto the Abraham Accords with the United States, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel. The signing came just over two months after then-US president Donald Trump announced that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel.

Before Sudan, the Trump administration engineered diplomatic pacts late last year between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain. Morocco also re-established diplomatic relations with Israel after cutting ties in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians during the Second Intifada.\

Then-intelligence minister Eli Cohen visited Sudan in January, leading a delegation that held talks with senior Sudanese officials, including Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, and Defense Minister Yassin Ibrahim. Cohen signed a memorandum of understanding with Ibrahim on security-related issues and invited Sudanese leaders to visit Israel.

Clockwise, from top left: then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem, September 13 2020. (Alex Kolomiensky/Yedioth Ahronoth via AP, Pool); Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at the Elysee palace in Paris, September 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus); US then-President Donald Trump at the White House, October 21, 2020 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon); Sudanese Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the military council, west of Khartoum, June 29, 2019 (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

In April, ministers in Khartoum voted to annul the so-called Israel boycott law as part of the normalization efforts. The decision to scrap the 1958 law was confirmed by the Sudanese prime minister’s office, which said ministers also affirmed Sudan’s support for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

A joint vote of the cabinet and the ruling sovereignty council must still be held before the law is removed from the books. The legislation bars the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and forbade any business ties with the Jewish state. Penalties for those who violated its stipulations, such as trading with Israelis, included up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine.

Sudanese demonstrators step on an Israeli flag during a rally against their country’s signing of a deal on normalizing relations with the Jewish state, outside the cabinet offices in the capital Khartoum, on January 17, 2021 (ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The county is now ruled by a joint military and civilian government that seeks better ties with Washington and the West.

In December, Trump’s administration finalized the removal of Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move was a key incentive for the government in Khartoum to normalize relations with Israel.

The designation dated back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted terrorists. Sudan was also believed to have served as a pipeline for Iran to supply weapons to terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Sudan’s economy suffered from decades of US sanctions and mismanagement under al-Bashir, who had ruled the country since a 1989 Islamist-backed military coup.

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