Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the transitional government was not authorized to decide on the normalization of relations with Israel, reported Reuters. He said the issue should not be linked to Sudan’s removal from U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list.
According to government spokesman Faisal Saleh, Hamdok told Pompeo that the transitional government “does not have a mandate … to decide on normalisation with Israel” and the matter would be decided after Sudan’s transitional bodies were formed. Notably, a legislative body to serve alongside the ruling council and the government is yet to be formed.
“The Prime Minister called on the U.S. administration to separate the process of removing Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism and the issue of normalization with Israel,” Saleh said.
Pompeo had flown to Khartoum from Tel Aviv to meet with the Sudanese leader, in the first official non-stop flight between the two countries, as the United States promotes stronger Sudan-Israel ties. He met Hamdok as well as ruling council head Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, tweeting that Sudan’s democratic transition was a “once in a generation opportunity”.
On Tuesday, the US State Department issued a statement saying that Pompeo and Hamdok discussed “positive developments in the Sudan-Israel relationship.”
As per the statement, the two leaders also agreed that agreement on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, was crucial to regional stability.
Washington had sanctioned Sudan over its alleged support for militant groups and the civil war in Darfur. Trade sanctions were lifted in 2017.
Sudan has been trying to restore relations with the U.S. following the ousting of former Islamist leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 following mass public protests. The country is one year into a 39-month political transition in which the military and civilians are sharing power.
Sudan’s economy is in crisis and authorities have been pushing to end the U.S. terrorism listing, which prevents Sudan from accessing financing from international lenders.