It is “just a matter of time” before Sudan follows the lead of UAE in normalising ties with Israel, says a Sudanese government official, despite its foreign ministry spokesman being fired this week for speaking “without authorisation”.

The official told The Associated Press news agency on Tuesday that deliberations between Sudanese and Israeli officials have been going on for months, with help from Egypt, the UAE and the United States. 

“It’s a matter of time. We are finalising everything,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters.

“The Emirati move encouraged us and helped calm some voices within the government who were afraid of backlash from the Sudanese public.” 

While Israel already has diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan, the UAE last week became the first Gulf Arab state to announce it will normalise ties with Israel. 

A day later, Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Haidar Badawi said Sudan was “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement with Israel”.

“There is no reason to continue hostility between Sudan and Israel,” Badawi was quoted as saying by Sky News Arabia.

“We don’t deny that there are communications” with Israel, he added, saying both countries would gain much from a deal. 

Badawi’s remarks immediately drew a pledge from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “do all that’s needed” to wrap up a deal.

But on Wednesday a statement by the official SUNA news agency said Sudanese acting Foreign Minister Omar Qamar al-Din “has dismissed Haidar Badawi from his position as spokesman and head of the media division” at the ministry.

Omar Qamar al-Din Ismail said he was “astonished” by the spokesman’s statement, and that he had spoken out of turn.

But the Jerusalem Post’s Herb Keinon says, “Don’t read too much into Badawi’s removal. The spokesman’s words may have been premature and uttered without due authorization – there are political turf wars in Sudan as well – but sooner or later Sudan is likely to follow the UAE’s lead and sign a peace agreement with Israel.

Meanwhile Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Israeli news site Ynet in an interview that he believes the talks with Sudan will lead to a deal.

“There is communication between the two states and I believe that it will develop into the advancement of an agreement between the countries. But we need to look, we need to wait. Is it right for Israel and Sudan? The answer is yes,” he said. 

Last week CUFI welcomed the announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be fully normalising ties.

“This is an historic announcement. We consistently pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and today those prayers were answered in a big way,” said CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee, “In the context of the discussion about extending Israeli sovereignty to portions of Judea and Samaria, we made clear in late June that this is precisely what the Gulf states should do, and we hope other Arab nations will follow the UAE’s lead. CUFI backs the decisions of the democratically elected Government of Israel, including the decision to suspend sovereignty extension plans in this context.”

“This proves yet again that when Israel’s Arab neighbors are prepared to make peace with the Jewish state, Israel will always be there to meet them,” Hagee added.

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