Netanyahu wishes Sudanese leader happy Eid in latest move towards normalisation

Netanyahu wishes Sudanese leader happy Eid in latest move towards normalisation
Fresh from inaugurating his new government, Israel's PM called Sudan's leader to wish him a happy Eid, three months after the pair agreed to begin normalising ties.
2 min read
25 May, 2020
Sudanese protesters rally against Netanyahu's meeting with Burhan in February [Getty]
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he had spoken with the leaders of Sudan and Chad, hinting the countires have taken another step towards forming official bilateral ties.

Netanyahu made the announcement at the beginning of his first cabinet meeting since inaugurating the country's new coalition unity government last week.

The meeting took place just hours before the Prime Minister's first hearing in his criminal trial for corruption charges, in a saga that has gripped Israel and contributed to a long-running political crisis.

Netanyahu told his ministers he had spoken with the leaders of the two African countries over the past two days to wish them a happy Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He said he wished the relationship with the two countries would “strengthen further,” adding that new diplomatic ties with “more Muslim countries” are “on the way,” CGTN Africa quoted the leader as saying.

Netanyahu held a historic secret meeting with the transitional leader of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in Uganda in February, after which they announced they would begin cooperating towards normalising ties.

The secret meeting was met with popular demonstrations in Khartoum. 

Netanyahu visited Chad in January 2019, where he agreed with Chadian President Idriss Deby to resume diplomatic relations for the first time since 1972.

Normalisation with Arab and Muslim countries has clearly been on Netanyahu's agenda in recent years, and also constitutes an aspect of US President Donald Trump's peace plan for Israel-Palestine.

Moreover, Netanyahu is thought to have used his meeting with Burhan ahead of the March elections in order to provide his right-wing base with the prospect of deporting Sudanese migrants from Israel.

Meanwhile, commentators have said that Sudan's current transitional leadership is using normalisation with Israel to position itself favourably with the Trump administration for aid reasons.

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