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Sudanese official said to be in Israel on secret visit

Unidentified official seeking to advance relations between the countries, according to Kan news

This combination of pictures created on October 23, 2020, shows an Israeli flag during a rally in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on September 19, 2020; and a Sudanese flag during a gathering east of the capital Khartoum on June 3, 2020. (JACK GUEZ and ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)
This combination of pictures created on October 23, 2020, shows an Israeli flag during a rally in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on September 19, 2020; and a Sudanese flag during a gathering east of the capital Khartoum on June 3, 2020. (JACK GUEZ and ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

A top official of the current Sudanese military government is currently in Israel for a secret visit, Reuters and Kan news reported Wednesday.

The unidentified government representative was seeking to advance relations between the countries, the reports said, with Reuters saying he’d arrived at the beginning of the week.

The Kan report was unsourced, while Reuters cited an unnamed official with knowledge of the visit.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli or Sudanese government officials.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who seized power in a coup last year, has said that “Sudan’s relationship with Israel may eventually take a natural form.”

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)

In an interview with the Al Arabiya network published in December, he 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 the more prominent player leading normalization efforts in Israel.

Israeli delegations have reportedly visited Sudan several times in recent months.

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.

Al-Burhan seized power and detained 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.

A man holds a Sudanese national flag before flames at a barricade as people protest against the military coup in Sudan, in the east of the capital Khartoum on November 13, 2021. (AFP)

However, Hamdok announced his resignation as prime minister last month amid an ongoing political deadlock.

“I have tried my best to stop the country from sliding towards disaster,” Hamdok said, addressing the nation.

“In view of the fragmentation of the political forces and conflicts between the (military and civilian) components of the transition… despite everything that has been done to reach a consensus… it has not happened,” he said.

Sudan “is crossing a dangerous turning point that threatens its whole survival,” he added.

Hamdok’s resignation has left the military in sole command of the country, with some analysts saying this may lead to even more bloodshed and repressive policies, following months of street protests and violent crackdowns that have claimed at least 57 lives.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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