FM Cohen Heads Delegation to Discuss Sudan Normalization

Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan disembarks from a plane as he arrives at the Juba International Airport, in Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 12. (REUTERS/Jok Solomun)

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Thursday to discuss the normalization of ties between the two countries, two Sudanese government sources said.

The trip was part of an exchange of visits between Sudan and Israel and involved discussions on reaching and signing a normalization deal as well as military and security issues, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sudan agreed to take steps to normalize ties with Israel in a 2020 deal brokered by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, alongside normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco known as the “Abraham Accords”.

In January 2021, Sudan said that its justice minister at the time, Nasredeen Abdulbari, had signed on to the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials, but Cohen’s office said he would in the evening convene a news conference “upon his return from an historic state visit”. It did not elaborate.

As intelligence minister in 2021, Cohen made a ground-breaking visit to Sudan.

Sudan’s military, which has been in charge of the country since an October 2021 coup but says it intends to hand over power to a civilian government, is seen as having led the move towards establishing relations with Israel.

Civilian groups have been more reluctant and have previously said any deal must be ratified by a transitional parliament that is yet to be formed.

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