Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok Reuters

Sudan's Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, has said that normalizing ties with Israel was a "complicated" issue needing wide debate within society, AFP reported Sunday.

Earlier this month, Israel signed US-brokered deals to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pushed in recent weeks for a breakthrough between Israel and Sudan which would end the country’s pariah status in the West and lead to closer relations between Sudan and Israel.

Sudan's economy is in crisis, partly due to sanctions imposed because it is on a US blacklist as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism.

On Saturday, Hamdok was questioned by reporters on the two issues of lifting US sanctions and normalizing ties with Washington's ally Israel.

"We spoke with the US Secretary of State and told him 'let us separate the two tracks,'" Hamdok said, according to AFP, speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference in Khartoum.

"We hope for success in this matter," he added.

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.

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.

Hamdok heads the transitional government, which came to power a year ago after Islamist President Omar al-Bashir was ousted, bringing together old rivals into a fragile coalition.

Removing Sudan from the US blacklist is a priority for the government, but while some leaders are in favor of a political deal with Israel, many oppose.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Yom Kippur in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)