Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday spoke with the chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council General, Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, and praised his efforts to normalize ties with Israel following his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“The two leaders underscored their shared desire to improve Sudan’s active participation in the region and international communities and their commitment to work towards a stronger, healthier US-Sudan bilateral relationship,” said a State Department statement summarizing the call.

“Secretary Pompeo thanked General al-Burhan for his leadership in normalizing ties with Israel as a result of General al-Burhan’s recent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda at the invitation of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni,” the statement added.

It noted that “Pompeo invited General al-Burhan to Washington, D.C. to meet with him later in the year.”

Netanyahu and the Sudanese leader met earlier on Monday in Entebbe and agreed to start cooperation that will normalize relations between the two countries.

Burhan reportedly expressed his desire that his state go through a process of modernization by removing it from isolation and placing it on the world map.

The Sudanese government later said that it was not informed in advance of the meeting and waiting for Burhan to return to Sudan and provide clarifications.

Burhan heads the Sovereignty Council which leads Sudan since the ousting of former dictator Omar al-Bashir last year.

The US in December lifted Sudan from a blacklist for religious freedoms violations, but still labels it a state sponsor of terrorism.

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 contest”.