Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Sudan says it will discuss trade and migration with Israel

Israel for its part said it would send wheat worth $5 million to Sudan

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a Reuters interview in Khartoum, Sudan, on August 24, 2019. 
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a Reuters interview in Khartoum, Sudan, on August 24, 2019. 

Sudan and Israel will discuss agreements to co-operate on trade and migration issues in the coming weeks, the Sudanese foreign ministry said on Sunday, signalling steps to implement a normalisation pact after decades of hostilities.

Israel for its part will send wheat worth $5 million to “our new friends of Sudan”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Twitter.

The accord mediated by the US made Sudan the third Arab country to establish relations with Israel in the past two months, after the UAE and Bahrain, and only the fifth since 1948.

But prominent political factions in Sudan have rejected the accord. Some Sudanese officials have said it should be approved by a transitional parliament that has yet to be formed over a year after mass unrest ousted long-time autocrat Omar Al Bashir.

Khartoum’s foreign ministry said Sudanese and Israeli delegations would meet in coming weeks to negotiate deals on agriculture, aviation, trade and migration. It gave no details or timeframe for the talks.

The normalisation deal is sensitive in Sudan, formerly a hardline critic of Israel, dividing opinion among military and civilian leaders heading a post-Bashir transition.

The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with a broader, formal normalisation, and that may not be a quick process given civilian-military differences over ties with Israel.

It remains unclear when the assembly will be constituted as part of the transition towards free elections.

Meanwhile, the transitional government faces the challenge of reviving the economy after decades of mismanagement by Al Bashir that led to shortages of currency, fuel and food.

The government has been receiving assistance from regional and western allies, but foreign business investment and access to international lenders were blocked by Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism by the US. President Donald Trump revoked the order on Friday.

On Sunday, Sudan received 67,000 tonnes of wheat in the first part of a grant from the UAE, the state news agency Suna said.

Sudan is also in talks with the UN World Food Programme for another shipment of 40,000 tonnes of wheat, the agency said.

Updated: October 26, 2020 02:02 PM

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