Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen was in Sudan on Thursday to discuss deeper cooperation between the two countries, including in security and military matters, with Sudan’s sovereign council head General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
Burhan’s office confirmed the visit, which took place in the capital Khartoum, in a statement. It was the first official acknowledgement of such a visit by Sudan, although there have been a series of exchanges between officials from the two countries in recent years.
Two Sudanese sources told Reuters that reaching agreement on the normalization of ties between the two countries was on the agenda.
Sudan agreed to take steps to normalize ties with Israel in a 2020 deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump
’s administration, alongside normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, known as the “Abraham Accords.”
In January 2021, Sudan said that its justice minister at the time, Nasredeen Abdulbari, had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials, but Cohen’s office said he would convene a news conference in the evening “upon his return from a historic state visit.” It did not elaborate.
Cooperation on agriculture, energy, health, water, and education were also discussed during the meeting, Sudan’s sovereign council said.
As intelligence minister in 2021, Cohen made a ground-breaking visit to Sudan.
Sudan’s military, which has been in charge of the country since an October 2021 coup but says it intends to hand over power to a civilian government, is seen as having led the move toward establishing relations with Israel.
Civilian groups have been more reluctant and have previously said any deal must be ratified by a transitional parliament that is yet to be formed.