US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Sudan on Tuesday on a tour urging more Arab countries to normalize ties with Israel, following the US-brokered Israel-UAE agreement.
Pompeo, the first American top diplomat to visit Sudan since 2005, arrived on a historic “first official non-stop flight” from Tel Aviv, he tweeted from the plane.
Israel remains technically at war and has no formal diplomatic relations with Sudan, which for years supported hardline Islamist forces under its former strongman Omar al-Bashir.
BREAKING: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Khartoum to discuss the possibility of Sudan normalizing ties with Israel, removal from U.S. terror list. https://t.co/OhOJ0Qyb6E
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 25, 2020
But its new transitional government has vowed to break with the Bashir era following his ouster last year amid popular pro-democracy protests.
Pompeo was to meet Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to discuss continued US support for the civilian-led transitional government “and express support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship”, the State Department said.
Sudan, which has launched sweeping social and political reforms, now hopes Washington will soon take it off its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism as it seeks to fully re-integrate into the international community.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 24, 2020
Closer ties with US ally Israel would help, and both sides have already taken a series of steps, muddied however by mixed messaging from Sudan.
The Pompeo visit comes as Sudan is in deep economic crisis — having suffered decades-long US sanctions and the 2011 secession of the country’s oil-rich south.
Grappling with high inflation and the coronavirus pandemic, the country badly needs to attract more foreign aid and investment.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)