Israeli diplomatic mission leaving for Sudan next week

Diplomats working to finalize peace deal. Israel requests Sudan allow El Al flights to use its airspace.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

An official Israeli delegation will leave for Sudan next week, the first diplomatic mission to the African country since President Donald Trump announced the two sides had agreed to normalize ties under American mediation, Kan News reported Tuesday.

“The first official Israeli mission will head to Khartoum, in Sudan, next Sunday,” tweeted Kan News Arab diplomatic affairs reporter Shimon Aran, who did not reveal his inside source of information, acknowledging that no official Israeli or Sudanese authority had yet publicly verified the diplomatic mission.

An Israeli delegation was in Sudan about three weeks ago ahead of the declaration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Israeli plane that flew the delegation traveled directly from Ben Gurion Airport to Khartoum, having been given special permission by Sudan.

Two days later on October 24, Trump announced a normalization agreement between Israel and Sudan. At the time, the president noted that the heads of Sudan, Israel and other countries would soon arrive in Washington and said that at least five other countries “want to sign a peace agreement with Israel.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “dramatic breakthrough for peace” and a “tremendous revolution.”

That move followed the White House announcement that Trump has informed Congress of his intent to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, following Khartoum’s agreement to pay $335 million in compensation to victims of the Al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000 — attacks that American courts ruled Sudan aided and abetted.

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A news report Tuesday said Sudan will allow Israel’s national El Al airline to fly through its airspace for the first time. An El Al charter flight will fly empty to Uganda on Sunday and return with 153 Ugandans coming on an agricultural mission to Israel under the auspices of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

A senior Sudanese official told the Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that Sudan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed they had received a request from its Israeli counterpart for Israeli aircraft to pass through Sudanese airspace. The official said authorities “are studying the request” and that they have not yet issued final approval.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that they are receiving many positive messages from all over the Arab world, including Sudan.

“Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives thousands of messages every week from people in Arab countries expressing their support for peace,” tweeted Yonatan Gonen, head of Arabic-language New Media Section at the ministry.

Gonen posted a drawing of a dove of peace that was sent to the ministry, calling it a “beautiful message we received from Sudan.”