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Israel-Sudan on the road to broader cooperation

The history of Sudan begins in ancient times when its territory was named Nubia.This country, strategic for the West, is the third largest country in Africa. It is located in the north of Africa on the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea.

Since the 2001 attacks, Washington has moved closer to Sudan as part of the anti-terrorism war.

For Israel, the stability, security and prosperity of Africa are essential to its own stability and security. Thus, increasingly important relations are emerging between Sudan and Israel

Sudan-Israel relations have undergone important development

This African country became a semi-official partner of Israel a few years ago, but everything suggests that relations between the two countries will get better in the coming months.

Relations between Israel and Sudan have undergone significant changes since the end of World War II. Enemies in the early years following Sudan’s independence, the two States grew closer in the 1970s under the mandate of Gaafar Nimeiry, before resuming hostilities in the late 1980s when Omar al-Bashir took power

General Mohamed Hamdam Dogolo, key figure in this new alliance

The key figure in this new relationship is General Mohamed Hamdam Dogolo, Vice-President of the Sudanese Sovereign Council.

In recent years, we are witnessing a détente between the two countries that will lead to a possible normalization of their relations from 2020 on, partly thanks to the influence of Mohamed Hamdam Dogolo.

In February 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu meets with President Abdel Fattah Abdelrahmane al-Burhan in the Ugandan city of Entebbe to discuss normalization of relations between the two states.

In October 2020, the Vice-President of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Dogolo said that Israel is a developed country, which Sudan needs to get closer to for its own development. The week after, an Israeli delegation visited Khartoum to discuss normalization between the two states.

On October 23, 2020, Israel and Sudan signed an agreement in which the two countries agreed to normalize their relations.

On April 6, 2021, the Sudanese Cabinet approved a bill abolishing the 1958 Boycott of Israel Act

Reactions to this Israel-Sudan rapprochement have been welcomed by all nations.

The Bahraini Foreign Ministry described the announcement as “another historic step on the road to peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.”

Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter that “Canada welcomes the normalization between Israel and Sudan. This agreement is a positive step forward that will help strengthen stability, security and opportunity for all people in this region.”

German officials welcomed the agreement, saying it represents “an important step toward greater stability and more peaceful relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”

The UAE Foreign Ministry welcomed the normalization of relations and said the decision was “an important step to enhance security and prosperity in the region… (and) would expand the scope of economic, trade, scientific and diplomatic cooperation.”

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the normalization of those relations, saying it was “a positive step between two valued friends. This step is a boost for Sudan’s democratic transition and peace in the region.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed hope that “the agreement between Israel and Sudan to normalize relations will create opportunities for peace and prosperity.”

Hope for the future: national reconciliation 

Mr. Mohamed Hamdam Dogolo hopes for the near future that Israel-Sudan relations will go beyond military exchanges and that cooperation in agriculture, education, health, technology and culture will begin.

At the same time, Mr. Hamdam Dogolo is listening to the grievances of the Sudanese people. He has been working for several months on national reconciliation by organizing tribal peace conferences. The representative of the UN Secretary-General in Sudan, Volker Peretz, welcomed the tribal reconciliations that have taken place in the Darfur region. Mr. Peretz welcomed the various reconciliation agreements that were signed in June 2022 under the supervision of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Hope for the future: the fight against terrorism

In recent months, Sudanese authorities have dismantled the country’s most dangerous terrorist cell in Khartoum, which had in its possession a very large quantity of explosives.

Prosecutor General Taj Al-Sir Ali Al-Hebr announced at a press conference in Khartoum that the Rapid Support Forces have carried out 12 ambushes, resulting in the arrest of 41 terrorists and the seizure of dangerous explosive materials

Sudan, if it continues its transformation, will become an important partner of the West and Israel

Eric Gozlan
Director of International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue

About the Author
Eric Gozlan is Government Counselor and co-director of the international Council for diplomacy and dialogue. He works in civic diplomacy in the Middle East and in Africa. He has received numerous awards for peace and gives numerous lectures. He served in the IDF for several years.
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