Sudan 'must normalise relations with Israel, Palestine sold its own land': Sudanese minister

Sudan 'must normalise relations with Israel, Palestine sold its own land': Sudanese minister
Sudan minister Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi said he was only repeating the words of other leading officials in private, adding that trade ties with Israel would be good for the economy.
2 min read
23 August, 2017
Sudan's minister of investment inspired controversy on Sunday when he called on Khartoum to normalise relations with Israel.

Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi made the comments on national television, while also accusing the Palestinian people of "selling out".

"They sold their land [to Israelis]," he said.

"One can agree with the Israelis or disagree with them, but they have a democratic regime," he added.

According to Mahdi, his words were representative of his contemporaries in the ruling elite. The minister claimed there had been a shift in political opinion with regards to normalising relations with Israel since January.

"The issue was discussed during the Sudan National Dialogue Conference," the minister said, adding that a number of ministers voted to change foreign policy towards Israel.

Israel's Minister of Communications, Ayoub Kara, reacted to the minister's comments by inviting Mahdi to Israel for an official visit.

Sudan does not recognise Israel and has no diplomatic ties to the country, in line with the current Arab League boycott of Israel.

All this may change however, as evidence has emerged that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opened negotiations with Israel over a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with a delegation of top US officials in Jeddah on Wednesday to discuss a potential peace deal.

Kushner has been tasked with restarting negotiations between Israel and Palestine - a process which has been put on ice since talks last collapsed in 2014.

Senior Israeli ministers have been dropping numerous rumours in recent months that normalisation with Saudi Arabia may soon become possible.

All of these discussions and business deals have been done in secret however - leading to rumours of shady deals with Palestine's enemies.

By way of example, Israel was censured by the United Nations on several occasions for selling weapons in South Sudan - Sudan's southern neighbour and source of economic hardship.

A confidential report to the UN Security Council was leaked to AFP which exposed "well established networks" of arms suppliers to South Sudanese militias from Israel.