Egypt getting involved in Israel-Sudan negotiations: report

Egypt requested a three-way security meeting to help broker Israel-Sudan peace and keep eye on terrorists, including Hamas.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Egypt has requested a three-way meeting with Israeli and Sudanese military officials, the Sudanese newspaper Hikayat reported Tuesday.

A meeting expected to take place this week will include security and military officials from Egypt, Sudan and Israel, the report said.

A Sudanese source said officials in Egypt demanded the meeting, saying coordination was a necessity in setting relations between the three countries. Egypt has growing concerns about its interests with Sudan, including security in the Red Sea region and the border dispute between Cairo and Khartoum over the Halayeb and Shalateen area on their shared border along the Red Sea.

According to Sudanese sources, the meeting will discuss anti-terrorism issues common to the three countries, including apparent Israeli demands for Sudan to stop its support of armed Palestinian groups operating there, especially the Iran-backed Hamas terror group that had strong relations with ousted Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The sources said the Sudanese-Israeli normalization agreement that is expected to be formalized soon will completely change the nature of the region. It will create new security and military challenges that must be arranged in advance, not only between Israel and Sudan, but also between the active African powers of which Egypt is the dominant country in the area.

Egypt also has issues with Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in Egypt as a terrorist organization.

The border dispute issue fueled Egyptian anger after a picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was circulated earlier this year showing him in front of a map of Sudan with the Halayeb area within its borders. The area has been in dispute since 1958, and Sudan objects to the presence there of mining companies contracted by Egypt.

News of the three-way security meeting comes after an Israeli defense delegation gathered in Khartoum Monday in advance of a larger Israeli trade delegation that is expected in the Sudanese capital next week.

Egyptian and Gulf diplomatic sources told the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper in August that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi wants to accelerate the entry of Sudan into the circle of Arab countries as part of the new American planning for the region with major financial aid for Sudan from the U.S., Europe and Gulf Arab states.

President Trump announced in October that he signed a decree removing Sudan from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism, apparently as part of a deal in which Khartoum agreed to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Other Egyptian sources said that Sudan-Israel relations, especially on the economic level, would be a cornerstone for establishing a large energy market in the Red Sea region in partnership with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Sudan could be part of proposed projects between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel to set up natural gas liquefaction centers, Hikayat reported.