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Sudanese Leader Said Interested in Normalizing Ties with Israel

Despite keeping secret a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of Sudan, is reportedly ready to normalize relations with the Jewish state. In reference to the Monday tete-a-tete in Uganda, a Sudanese government spokesman said in a statement: “We, the members of the cabinet, were not notified or consulted about this meeting. We are waiting for the chief of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan to return and give clarification about this.” Burhan heads the council, which is composed of military officers and civilians and was formed as part of a power-sharing agreement in the wake last year’s overthrow of strongman Omar al-Bashir. The new leader is believed to be courting Israel in a bid to strengthen ties with the United States, which imposed sanctions on Khartoum – and added the country to its list of state sponsors of terrorism – during the conflict in Darfur. The International Criminal Court years ago issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of perpetrating crimes against humanity in the campaign of slaughter that some have labeled a genocide. After meeting Burhan, Netanyahu released a statement saying he believes Sudan “is headed in a new positive direction” and that this message had been conveyed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The top US diplomat has invited Burhan for talks in Washington. During Netanyahu’s one-day trip to Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni revealed that he was considering inaugurating an embassy in Jerusalem.