KHARTOUM: Sudan denied reports that it would send its first delegation to Israel months after an agreement for relations between the two countries, and two Sudanese sources said Khartoum had canceled a planned visit.
Sources previously told Reuters that a Sudanese delegation made up of security and intelligence officials would visit Israel next week.
Sudan agreed to take steps to establish normal relations with Israel last year under a deal brokered by the administration of then-US President Donald Trump. This month, the Sudanese cabinet voted to repeal a 1958 law aimed at boycotting Israel.
The issue is divisive in Sudan, which is going through a delicate political transition following the overthrow of former leader Omar Bashir in 2019.
Two Sudanese official sources told Reuters that an invitation to visit Israel was accepted, but that plans subsequently changed. They gave no explanation for the change.
The Sudanese General Intelligence Service said that “the information circulating on some media and social media regarding the visit of a security delegation to Sudan was not true,” the state news agency SUNA reported.
The Sudanese Defense and Security Council has also denied the news.
The deal for Sudan to normalize its relations with Israel was made alongside the normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, and came when the United States agreed to remove Sudan from its list of states. who support terrorism.
The Sudanese army appears to have led the movement, but the civilian groups with which it shares power are more reluctant and say the deal must be approved by a transitional parliament that has yet to be formed.
Cyprus, meanwhile, hosted a meeting of senior diplomats from Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Greece, for talks they said reflected the “changing face” of the Middle East.
“This new strategic membership extends from the shores of the Persian Gulf” to the Mediterranean and Europe, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said at a press conference in the seaside town of Paphos.
Standing alongside Anwar Gargash, advisor to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, he said their meeting was a sign of “the changing face of the Middle East.”
He called for a “strategic energy partnership between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf”.
Gargash said ties to the Jewish state amounted to an “alternative strategic vision” to strengthen regional security, adding that the Paphos talks were about economic and political cooperation, as well as “the use of technology to fight against COVID-19 ”.
The Cypriot and Greek foreign ministers, exposed to the Mediterranean, both stressed that the new regional grouping was open to all parties.
“The way is open for all the countries of the region to join us,” said host Nikos Christodoulides, without directly mentioning Turkey, whose troops occupy the northern third of Cyprus and which is in conflict with Nicosia and Athens on gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who visited both Turkey and Libya over the past week, highlighted calls for the “withdrawal of all foreign forces” from the North African country, where Turkish troops are stationed.
On Iran and its controversial nuclear program, Ashkenazi reiterated that Israel “will do whatever it takes to prevent this radical and anti-Semitic regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.”