Sudan sacks spokesman who revealed talks with Israel

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry sacks spokesman who confirmed that Israel and Sudan are negotiating diplomatic relations.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry fired its spokesman Wednesday, the day after he revealed in a news interview that the African nation was getting ready to sign an agreement with Israel to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Acting Foreign Minister Omer Gamaruddeen Ismail walked back the statement by spokesman Haider Badawi, saying that the Foreign Ministry in Khartoum had not discussed relations between Sudan and Israel at all.

Isamil said Badawi was acting on his own when he told Sky News Arabia on Tuesday that Sudan and Israel had been involved in secret talks, saying “no one tasked Badawi with making statements on this matter.”

Sky News Arabia quoted Badawi as saying his government looked forward to a peace agreement “based on equality and Sudanese interests.”

“There is no reason to continue hostility between Sudan and Israel,” Badawi was quoted as saying. “We don’t deny that there are communications” with Israel.

Badawi spoke with Sky News a few days after President Trump announced that Israel and the UAE would sign a deal at the White House in the coming weeks to normalize relations

“We shall be able to build an exemplary peace deal to all our neighboring countries in the region, so that they are able to follow our footsteps and do the same with Israel. I would like to note here that even Palestinians have had a long history of diplomatic ties with Israel. So, why should it be right for them and considered wrong for us,” Badawi told the Arabic service of Sky News.

Badawi’s comments went over well in Jerusalem where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to issue a statement praising the development.

“Israel, Sudan and the entire region will benefit from the peace agreement and will be able – together – to build a better future for all peoples of the region. We will do whatever is necessary to turn vision into reality,” Netanyahu said.

Reaction to the Israel-UAE peace deal has been mixed in the Islamic world, with Iran and the Palestinians condemning the news while several Gulf states and Egypt praised it.

In Sudan where the population is 97 percent Muslim, several political parties released statements criticizing Badawi for claiming the government supported normalizing relations with Israel, VOA reported. The National Umma Party said that because Sudan was in a period of transitional government, its leaders had no constitutional right to seek any new foreign relations.

Netanyahu met earlier this year with Sudanese leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan during a secret trip to Uganda, where the two leaders reportedly pledged to pursue normalization of ties.

“President Burhan put Sudan on the right track with his meeting with the Israeli prime minister,” Badawi told Sky News.

An Israeli cabinet minister also confirmed the ongoing talks with Sudan, saying he expected them to lead to the establishment of relations.

“There is communication between the two states and I believe that it will develop into the advancement of an agreement between the countries,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Ynet. “But we need to look, we need to wait. Is it right for Israel and Sudan? The answer is yes.”