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Israel's foreign minister flies to Sudan ahead of signing Abraham Accords

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has returned from Sudan's capital Khartoum, ahead of signing the Abraham Accords with the country's military leaders.
Photo of Sudan military leader Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from his meeting today in Khartoum with Israeli FM Eli Cohen

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen reportedly flew Thursday to Sudan's capital Khartoum on first such visit for an Israeli top diplomat, and ahead of signing the Abraham Accords with country's military leaders.

The minister met with Sudan's military leader Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and with other Sudanese leadership figures. This was the first public visit by an Israeli foreign minister to Sudan.

Over the years Sudan, a Muslim-majority country with a population of 48 million, has championed Palestinian positions, was close to Iran, sheltered Al-Qaeda and had been considered an enemy state of Israel. But when the Omar Bashir regime was toppled in a military coup 2019, the transition government in Khartoum showed signs of interest in rapprochement with Jerusalem. There were several unconfirmed reports of discrete mutual visits by security and diplomatic delegations.

In February 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly in Uganda with Sovereign Council Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The day after the meeting, Netanyahu went public, announcing that the two countries had agreed to work together toward normalizing ties. In January 2021, Sudan signed the declarative section of the Abraham Accords with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but did not sign a parallel document with Israel. A few days later, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen headed a business and security delegation and become the first Israeli cabinet minister to officially visit Sudan.

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