- Netanyahu had two hours of talks with Al-Burhan in the city of Entebbe
- The Sudanese Cabinet said it had not discussed the meeting
JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sudan’s leader Monday to discuss “normalization” between the two states, his office said.
Netanyahu held two hours of talks with Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, in the Ugandan city of Entebbe, a statement from his office said.
However, Sudan’s information minister and government spokesman, Faisal Salih, told Reuters he had no information about the visit and that the cabinet had not discussed it. Officials would wait for “clarifications” on Burhan’s return, Salih said in a later statement.
The countries are technically at war and Sudan could become only the third Arab state to recognize Israel.
Sudan’s sovereign council is a transitional body of military officials and civilians that is currently headed by Burhan, an army general.
It was created as part of a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians following the overthrow of longtime dictator Omar Al-Bashir last year.
Sudan under Bashir was part of the decades-long Arab boycott of Israel over the Jewish state’s treatment of the Palestinians.
In 1967 Arab leaders met in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to announce what was called the ‘three noes’ — rejecting peace or negotiations with and recognition of Israel.
Since then both Egypt and Jordan have recognized the country, though other Arab and many Muslim countries still do not.
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called Burhan’s meeting with Netanyahu “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a flagrant walkout on the Arab peace initiative,” according to a statement published by the official WAFA news agency.
On Sunday, the United States invited Burhan to visit Washington, Sudan’s sovereign council said.
Sudan is pushing to be removed from a US list of countries considered state sponsors of terrorism. The listing has impeded badly needed international financial assistance and commercial activity in Sudan.
Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who said Uganda was studying the possibility of opening an embassy in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu last visited Uganda in July 2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of a hostage rescue at Entebbe airport, in which his brother Yonatan died.
The Israeli premier, who is trying to burnish his diplomatic credentials a month before Israel’s March 2 election, visited the Gulf Arab state Oman in 2018 and he frequently says the boycott of his country is ending, despite no peace deal with the Palestinians.
( AFP and Reuters)