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Sudanese justice minister meets with Israeli officials in UAE

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll and Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej discuss joint education, culture initiatives with Nasredeen Abdulbari

Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll in Abu Dhabi on October 13, 2021. (Foreign Ministry)
Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll in Abu Dhabi on October 13, 2021. (Foreign Ministry)

Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari met on Wednesday with two senior Israeli government officials while visiting the United Arab Emirates.

Israel and Sudan agreed to work towards normalizing ties last October as part of the Abraham Accords. But unlike other Arab states that forged open diplomatic relations with Israel last year — the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain — little public process has been made in the normalization process with Sudan since the dramatic announcement.

Abdulbari met Wednesday in Abu Dhabi with Israel’s Regional Affairs Minister Issawi Frej of Meretz, where the pair discussed binational projects and the promotion of stronger ties.

According to Frej’s office, Abdulbari said Sudan and Israel should work together on joint educational and cultural projects to strengthen ties between the two states. During the meeting, Abdulbari suggested establishing an exchange program.

“I believe in the power of education and cultural ties, so I think we must communicate at the cultural and educational level before promoting economic projects,” Abdulbari said.

Abdulbari added that last year’s Abraham Accords were a “correct and necessary step” toward regional peace. “At first a small group accepts the change, then more and more groups join in,” said Abdulbari, according to Frej’s office.

Regional Affairs Minister Issawi Frej (right) meets with Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari in Abu Dhabi on October 13, 2021. (Courtesy)

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll met separately with Abdulbari, the Foreign Ministry confirmed, after reports of the meeting leaked.

According to the ministry, Roll and Abdulbari agreed to future cooperation on technological training aimed at preparing citizens to pursue hi-tech careers.

“Our goal is to join hands in technological training in order to help young people of all sides to the accords to adapt to the changes in the labor market and give them more capabilities in which they can also engage remotely, as an integral part of the high-tech industry,” Roll said following the meeting.

Roll also emphasized the importance of Sudan and Israel signing an agreement that establishes formal diplomatic ties between the countries, and categorized the meeting as “part of the driving force” of the Abraham Accords.

A delegation of Sudanese security officials made a recent secret trip to Israel, according to Arabic reports last week. The delegation spent two days in Israel to discuss bilateral relations, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network reported, without providing further details or specifying which Sudanese officials visited.

In an interview last month, Sudan’s foreign minister downplayed the ties and said there are currently no plans to allow Israel to open an embassy in Khartoum.

In the interview published in The National, 11 months after the announcement of normalization between the countries, Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said that there is “not any sign of normalization with Israel.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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