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Sudan may normalise relations with Israel, says FM

Ghandour said his country might consider the possibility of normalising relations with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 January, 2016

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Sudan's foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour has announced that Khartoum would not mind considering the normalisation of relations with Israel, in a surprise U-turn of Sudan's foreign policy.

Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour has said that his country might consider the possibility of normalising relations with Israel, contradicting Khartoum's previous stance that used to avoid any positive reference to "the Zionist entity".

Analysts argue that through this recent change of foreign policy, Sudan is favouring its own interests over any intellectual or moral principles.

This comes shortly after the government - as well as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir - met with the head of the Sudan-Israel Friendship Association, Taraji Mustafa, whose Sudanese citizenship had been revoked after she was accused of treason for supporting normalisation with Israel and visiting Tel Aviv.

Explaining the reason behind the shift in policy, Khartoum said that the feud with Israel had had a high cost, as it represented an obstacle in the path of normalising relations with the United States.

"Israel in general is a sensitive issue for the government," political analyst Ahmed Kamel told The New Arab, "but Ghandour's statements have shown that it did not mind considering the possibility of normalisation, especially if we look at Sudan's volatile foreign relations, which vary depending on its interests."

Ghandour's statement came during a meeting on Thursday, when he responded Washington's objection to the feud with Israel, saying that his country would not mind changing its position.

The statement came as a surprise to the attendees, as the previous government used to consider the mere mention of Israel a red line.

The issue of normalisation with Israel has under discussion since the launch of the national dialogue conference in October 2015, when members of the foreign affairs committee disagreed over the idea. Last week, the committee decided to discuss the matter later.

Committee member Osama al-Nour told reporters that some members rejected normalisation with Israel as a racist entity that seeks to establish a Jewish state beyond Palestine, while pro-normalisation members argued that it could be done based on Sudan's interests.

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