Israeli delegation working to advance normalization deal with Sudan

2021-10-13 23:40:58

Nearly a year after former US President Donald Trump announced that Sudan agreed to make peace with Israel, with little progress toward an actual agreement signed between the countries, a senior Israeli delegation met with Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Among those in the delegation were Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll and Knesset Foreign Affairs Subcommittee chairwoman Emilie Moatti.

“Cooperation with Israel in the areas of education and culture are even more important to us than economic cooperation,” Abdulbari said, according to Frej. “We must get to know one another and strengthen the human ties between us.”

Roll emphasized the importance of signing a peace treaty between the countries, the Foreign Ministry said.

A source with the delegation said that Abdulbari expressed real enthusiasm for formalizing relations between Sudan and Israel, and was optimistic that things would move forward.

In addition, Roll and Abdulbari discussed working together in the areas of education and technological training to allow the population of Abraham Accords countries adjust to changes in the labor market and learn how to do hi-tech jobs remotely.

 Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST/REUTERS)

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST/REUTERS)

Sudan agreed to normalization and peace with Israel under pressure from the US, which was set to remove Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism list.

There were meetings between senior Israeli security figures, as well as then-intelligence minister Eli Cohen, and Sudanese ministers soon after the announcement.

However, progress on Israel-Sudan relations has been slow to come.

The US has been pressing Sudan to move forward with signing a normalization agreement, as KAN’s Amichai Stein reported earlier this week.

The Sudanese transition government, leading the country after longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was toppled, is comprised of military leaders headed by Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and civilian leaders led by Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

The military side has been more enthusiastic about ties with Israel, while the civilian side is more concerned about a hostile public response. Abdulbari is on the civilian side, and his public meetings with senior Israeli officials could be viewed as movement toward an agreement.

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