Sudan’s top leadership confirmed hosting Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen for talks on fully normalizing ties on Thursday.
Sudanese ruler General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan released a statement confirming the meeting, along with photos of himself with Cohen and other members of the Israeli entourage.
“The head of the ruling council met today in his office with Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and an accompanying entourage to discuss ways to establish relations between the countries,” the statement said.
“The meeting dealt with ways to establish fruitful relations and strengthen cooperation in the fields of security, military, agriculture, energy, health and more. The Sudanese side asked the Israeli side to strive to achieve stability between Israel and the Palestinian people,” it added.
Cohen is due to give a press conference upon his return to Israel tonight.
Sudan signed the Abraham Accords in January 2021 as part of an arrangement with the US to get itself removed from a list of countries designated as state sponsors of terror. Unlike the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, however, Sudan has not made any moves to normalize ties, such as exchanging embassies.
After the signing, Cohen, then Intelligence Minister became the first known Israeli government minister to visit Khartoum. He led a delegation of intelligence and security officials to discuss diplomatic, security and economic issues with their Sudanese counterparts.
When Sudan signed the accords, the country was led jointly by Gen. Burhan and civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Hamdok opposed joining the Abraham Accords, saying their transitional government did not have a mandate to sign the agreement.
Burham seized power in a military coup in October 2021.
Sudanese and Israeli officials exchanged periodic unannounced visits.
Sudan has been trying to reintegrate itself with the West following 30 years of repression and isolation under Omar Bashir, who allied Sudan with Iran. In exchange for providing Sudan with military assistance, the Iranian navy was given access to Sudanese naval facilities along the Red Sea.
Iran also smuggled weapons overland through Sudan to Gaza. Between 2009-20012, Israel launched a number of airstrikes on rocket factories and deliveries in Khartoum and Port Sudan, and on an arms convoy in a remote area of northern Sudan.
Officials in Jerusalem have frequently expressed hopes of expanding the Abraham Accords. Speculation on which countries might be next to make peace with Israel has at times centered on Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mauritania and Libya.