Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that an Israeli plane made a historic first flight over Sudan only two weeks after he met with the Arab state’s leader in Uganda.
“I’ve been developing contacts with the Arab countries and Muslim countries, and I can tell you there’s scarcely one, two, three Muslim or Arab countries around the world that we don’t have deepened ties with,” he said at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem.
Israel and Sudan, he said, are “discussing rapid normalization.” He noted that Sudan is “an Arab, or rather a Muslim country, speaking Arabic, that hosted the Khartoum Conference. And in Khartoum they have all the no’s against Israel. Remember the no’s? No recognition, no Israel basically.”
Earlier this month, Netanyahu met secretly in Entebbe, Uganda, with Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
“It was agreed to start cooperation leading to normalization of the relationship between the two countries,” an Israeli statement said at the time.
Sudan and Israel are erstwhile enemies, with Khartoum being the backdrop to the infamous “Three No’s” issued by the Arab League during its summit in the Sudanese capital in 1967. Arab states at the time agreed that there would be “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with it.”
Until recently, Sudan was considered by Israel to be a security threat over Iran’s suspected use of the country to smuggle arms into the Gaza Strip. However, Khartoum has distanced itself from Iran over its involvement in Yemen and that, together with the ouster last year of country’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir, means that the threat no longer exists.
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