Pompeo, on historic flight, heads from Israel to Sudan on Mideast mission

Secretary of State expected to talk about Sudan-Israel diplomatic ties before flying to Gulf for talks with Arab leaders.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrapped up talks in Israel Tuesday and flew to Sudan, where he is expected to discuss the issue of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Sudan, which in the past aligned with the Arab bloc, but where a government spokesman recently revealed that the predominantly Muslim African country is in talks to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish State.

On leaving, Pompeo tweeted a message stressing America’s close ties to Israel as he continued a Middle East visit to push Arab nations to build diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.

Earlier this month President Trump announced the historic establishment of official ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, saying more Arab countries were expected to follow.

“Israel has long been America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East. Thank you to @IsraeliPM @netanyahu for a wonderful visit and constructive meetings and to @USAmbIsrael Friedman and the @usembassyjlm team for the work you do to keep our relationship strong,” Pompeo tweeted on his departure.

It was the first publicly confirmed official flight between Israel and Sudan, which earlier this year opened its skies to Israeli overflights in a sign of warming relations.

While in Israel Pompeo met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Pompeo said Monday that America will continue to explore the possibility of transferring weapons and capabilities to the UAE to enable it to defend itself against Iran, despite Netanyahu expressing opposition to the idea at their joint press conference.

From Sudan, Pompeo will the continue to the Gulf, where he is scheduled to visit Bahrain and the UAE.