Flag of Sudan
Flag of Sudan iStock

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was “astonished” by remarks made by its spokesman in which he said his country had "contacts" with Israel, Reuters reports.

Speaking to the news agency earlier in the day the spokesman, Haydar Sadig, praised the United Arab Emirates' decision to normalize relations with Israel as "a brave and bold step".

"The Emirates' move is a brave and bold step and contributes to putting the Arab world on the right track to build peace in the region and to build sustainable peace," Sadig told Reuters by phone on Tuesday.

"I cannot deny that there are contacts between Sudan and Israel," he added.

Sadig said any normalization of relations with Israel would not be at the expense of "Sudan's moral values and independence" and be "according to Sudan's interests".

"We will not accept unequal relations with Israel," he stressed.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu subsequently welcomed Sadig's remarks, saying on Twitter: "Israel, Sudan and the entire region will benefit from the peace agreement (with the UAE), and together can build a better future for all people in the region. We will do whatever is necessary to turn this vision into a reality."

But the Sudanese foreign ministry issued a statement later saying it had learned of Sadig's comments "with astonishment".

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan confirms that the issue of relations with Israel was not discussed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in any way, and Ambassador Haydar Badawi (Sadig) was not assigned to make any statements in this regard," added the statement quoted by Reuters.

In February, 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.

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”.