Sudanese group pushes Israel normalization in first press conference

The Popular Initiative for Normalization with Israel said that establishing relations with the Jewish state would be a wise strategic move for the North African country.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A Sudanese group calling for normalization with Israel held a press conference on Sunday in Khartoum, asking the Sudanese transitional government to enter talks with the Israeli government.

The group, calling themselves the Popular Initiative for Normalization with Israel, said that establishing relations with the Jewish state would be a wise strategic move for the North African country.

“Since the 1960s, Sudan has been imprisoned by certain ideological concepts,” said Najm al-Din Adam Abdullah, a member of the group.

“We believe that Sudan has remained in the same place since ‘The Three Nos’ [a policy against normalization] and has not been able to move forward,” he said. “Such a relationship with Israel has cost us enormously. It put us on the list of state supporters of terror.”

Sudan’s current designation as a state sponsor of terrorism makes the country subject to economic and military sanctions.

After the announcement of the Emirati and Bahraini peace deals in August, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan and met with Transitional Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.

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Reports have indicated that in exchange for normalization with Israel, the U.S. has promised to remove Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

An Israeli government official told Israel Hayom in August that “Sudan will also declare peace with Israel in a few weeks. We are close to that, and it will happen.”

Last month, senior Sudanese government official Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo told local media that Sudan has a strategic interest in establishing relations with Israel.

“Israel is developed. The entire world works with Israel. For development, for agriculture — we need Israel,” Dagalo, who is Sudan’s deputy head of state, told Juba24 News.

Israel Hayom reported that Dagalo told reporters, “It is in Sudan’s interest to establish relations with Israel. Our removal from the list of countries that support terror hinges on it.”

When asked about potential blowback from normalizing ties with Israel, Dagalo said, “We’re not scared of anyone. But these will be relations, not normalization. Relations, not normalization. Okay? We’re following this line.”