Sudanese FM Fires Spokesman Over Comments on Sudan-Israel Talks

A view of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Haydar Badawi Sadig, a spokesperson for the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, was fired on Wednesday after stating that Sudan and Israel were discussing normalizing relations, according to Al-Jazeera.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry denied the statements by its spokesperson concerning establishing relations with Israel on Tuesday, saying it was “astonished.”

Sadig made the comment to Reuters on Tuesday and praised the United Arab Emirates’ decision to normalize relations with Israel as “a brave and bold step.” He was confirming remarks made earlier to regional media.

In February, Israeli officials said Israel and Sudan had agreed to move towards forging normal relations for the first time during a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan‘s military-led, transitional sovereign council, in Uganda.

Netanyahu welcomed Sadig’s remarks, saying on social media: “Israel, Sudan and the entire region will benefit from the peace agreement [with the UAE], and together can build a better future for all people in the region. We will do whatever is necessary to turn this vision into a reality.”

Back in February, Burhan confirmed the meeting with Netanyahu but cast doubt on any rapid normalization of ties, saying Sudan‘s stance on the Palestinian issue remains unchanged, and that relations between the two countries was the responsibility of the civilian Cabinet in Khartoum.

Scores of Sudanese protesters condemned Burhan’s meeting with Netanyahu in February. Under the long rule of Islamist strongman Omar al-Bashir until his fall in a popular uprising in 2019, Khartoum counted among hardline Muslim foes of Israel.

Sadig said any normalization of relations with Israel would not be at the expense of “Sudan‘s moral values and independence” and would be “according to Sudan‘s interests.”

“We will not accept unequal relations with Israel.”

Israel says it expects other Gulf Arab countries and Muslim nations in Africa to follow in normalizing ties after its breakthrough with the UAE.