US officials hope for development in Israel-Sudan relations

US officials tell Israeli TV channel the administration wants to see Israel and Sudan normalize ties.

Elad Benari ,

Brian Hook
Brian Hook
Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

Two US officials told Kan 11 News on Monday that they hope for a development in Israeli-Sudan relations.

Brian Hook, the US envoy for Iran, and State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in response to Kan News’ question during a press briefing that "there is no demand from the administration that Sudan renew normalization with Israel so that the administration removes them from the list of countries that support terrorism."

Hook and Ortagus said the administration wants to see normalization between the two countries. Hook added that the administration is meeting with representatives from other countries in an attempt to persuade them to follow the path of the UAE, and sign more peace agreements with Israel.

"Any such agreement is a defeat for the Iranian threat. It is a nightmare for Iran," he said.

Last week, the spokesman of Sudan's foreign ministry, Haider Badawi Sadig, praised the United Arab Emirates' decision to normalize relations with Israel as "a brave and bold step" and added, "I cannot deny that there are contacts between Sudan and Israel.”

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry later said it was “astonished” by the spokesman’s remarks and added he “was not assigned to make any statements in this regard”. Sadig was subsequently fired for his comments.

On Friday, it was reported that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen met with a senior Sudanese official in a meeting that was organized and hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Sources with knowledge of the meeting told the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper that Sudan’s military council is interested in improving ties with Israel.

Israel and Sudan have had no formal ties in the past. In 2016, the country’s then-Foreign Minister hinted that his country could consider normalizing ties with Israel, but the government was then quick to that his comments were “taken out of context”.

In February, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met the head of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, during a visit to Uganda.

While Netanyahu’s office said after the meeting that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate towards normalizing ties, Sudan's cabinet later said that Burhan had made no promise to Netanyahu of "normalizing ties" between the two countries.