Monday, 24 February, 2020

Netanyahu holds landmark meeting with Sudan leader

The head of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Abdul Fattah al Burhan The head of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Abdul Fattah al Burhan
Robin Buchanan | 05 February, 2020, 00:33

Sudan's transitional government said it was not informed of that meeting with Netanyahu and only knew from the media, and the cabinet said it would await al-Burhan's return for clarification. The U.S. plan, heavily in favor of Israel, would grant the Palestinians limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank, while allowing Israel to annex all its settlements there and keep almost all of east Jerusalem. In a phone call a day earlier, Pompeo invited Burhan to visit the US later in the year. Netanyahu and Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan held their talks in Entebbe, Uganda.

Atlantic Council senior fellow and former USA diplomat Cameron Hudson told MEE he believed the Trump administration was behind the meeting.

In recent years, Israel has boosted its links with African nations, improving ties following a hard period when many post-independence African leaders sided with Israel's Arab rivals and viewed Israel's support for apartheid, South Africa, with intense suspicion.

But since Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir was ousted a year ago, Khartoum has distanced itself from Iran and no longer poses such a threat, Israeli officials say.

The United States still classifies Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, a legacy from the rule of now ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir who in the 1990s welcomed Osama bin Laden.


The Palestinians said Monday's meeting undermined those efforts. Last night before Netanyahu left for Uganda, Pompeo called Burhan and invited him for meetings in Washington next week.

Since then both Egypt and Jordan have recognised the country, though other Arab and many Muslim countries still do not.

Netanyahu visited the Gulf Arab state Oman in 2018 and he frequently says the boycott of his country is ending, despite no peace deal with the Palestinians.

On Monday, Netanyahu held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and called for the opening of missions in each others' countries, during a visit aimed at boosting ties.

"There are two things we very much want to achieve", Netanyahu said to Museveni at a joint press conference.


Such a move would be seen internationally as a statement of support for Israel's claim for the city of Jerusalem to be its capital, a potential political win for Netanyahu less than a month before a national election on March 2.

In recent years, Israel has improved ties with African nations, following a hard period when many post-independence African leaders sided with Israel's Arab rivals, and viewed with hostility Israel's support for apartheid South Africa. You open an embassy in Jerusalem.

President Donald Trump broke with that consensus when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. embassy there in 2018.

Israel now has diplomatic relations with 39 out of 47 sub-Saharan African states.


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