Sudan confirms the visit of an Israeli delegation last week  

The spokesman of the Sovereignty Council said that "the visit was of a technical and military nature" after denying it last week  
SUDAN

AFP/ JACK GUEZ and ASHRAF SHAZLY:  -   Sudan confirms visit of Israeli delegation last week 

For several days now, rumours have been growing in Jerusalem that an Israeli delegation will be sent to Khartoum following the agreement announced between the two countries on 23 October by the US President Donald Trump in Washington. According to a senior Israeli official told the AFP agency, on Monday 23 November Israel sent a first delegation to Sudan since the announcement of the agreement to normalise relations between the two countries.  

Hours later, the Sudanese government said it "has no information" about the arrival of an Israeli delegation to the country or a possible visit by a Sudanese mission to Israel, its spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh told AFP on Tuesday 24 November. "The Sudanese Council of Ministers has no information about the visit of an Israeli delegation to Sudan and not even if it took place," said Saleh, who is also Minister of Culture and Information. "Nor does it have information about a possible visit of a Sudanese delegation to Israel, as mentioned by the media," particularly the Sudanese daily Hikayat. 

The movement of the delegation, made up of a small group of officials, was also confirmed on 23 November by Israeli army radio. "The aim of the trip is to pave the way for an official visit by senior officials over the next few weeks," according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. This announcement, which was denied hours later by the government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh, confirming that they had "no information" about the arrival of an Israeli delegation or about a possible visit of a Sudanese mission to Israel, was definitely confirmed on Monday by the Sudanese authorities.   

PHOTO/ ASHRAF SHAZLY/SARAH SILBIGER/AFP: The President of the Transitional Council of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdullah Hamduk. 
PHOTO/ ASHRAF SHAZLY/SARAH SILBIGER/AFP: The President of the Transitional Council of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdullah Hamduk. 

This Monday, however, it was confirmed that the Israeli delegation visited Khartoum last week. "We did not announce it (when it took place) because it was not a significant visit or one of a political nature," said Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman. "That is why we did not talk about it at the level of the Sovereignty Council or the cabinet," said the spokesman for the Sovereignty Council, according to the Sudan Tribune.   

Quoted by the press on Monday, the spokesman for the Sovereignty Council, Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, said that "the visit was of a technical and military nature". He also said that discussions on the normalisation of relations were blocked because "there are political and economic commitments that have not been respected", while pointing to a stalemate that could delay the process of normalising relations between the two countries.   

Without revealing further details, including the fact that Sudan has been removed from the US "blacklist" of countries accused of supporting terrorism which is not yet effective because it still needs the approval of the US Congress. This blockade "will delay the implementation of the agreement unless progress is made," said Al-Faki Suleiman.   

Sudan has long been asking to be removed from the list, which means sanctions and barriers to investment for its economy, which is plagued by a lack of foreign currency and an annual inflation rate of over 200 percent. Its demand was accentuated following the fall of Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, under pressure from the streets, and with the emergence of a transitional power.   

But most Sudanese blame their leaders for having crossed the red line by betraying the "pan-Arab cause" that has crystallised around the Palestinians since the creation of Israel in 1948, according to sources at Le Figaro.