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Sudan distances itself from 'provocative and racist' Israel normalisation calls Open in fullscreen

Robert Cusack

Sudan distances itself from 'provocative and racist' Israel normalisation calls

Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi said his opinions were backed by many in government [YouTube]

Date of publication: 25 August, 2017

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Sudan minister Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi said he was only repeating the words of other leading officials in private, now officially denied by many government officials.
The Sudanese government sought to distance itself from calls by the country's minister of investment to normalise relations with Israel.

According to the state-owned Sudan News Agency, Khartoum said on Wednesday that Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi's comments "reflect his own opinion and not any official position."

Al-Mahdi stirred controversy on Sunday when he called on Khartoum to normalise relations with Israel, while also accusing the Palestinian people of "selling out".

"They sold their land [to Israelis]," he said.

"One can agree with the Israelis or disagree with them, but they have a democratic regime," he added.

The ruling party in the Gaza Strip, Hamas, said the minister's statement was "provocative and racist".

"We consider such statements to be alien to the values and principles of the Sudanese people who love and support Palestine and its resistance," a statement from Hamas said on Wednesday.

Sudan was once allied with Hamas, having previously supplied the Islamic resistance movement with weapons, until it shifted allegiance away from Iran towards Saudi Arabia.

Israel allegedly bombed a number of Sudanese weapons silos on Sudanese soil between 2008 and 2014, a fact Khartoum tried to cover up to hide its affiliation with Hamas, Haaretz reported.

Mubarak's call for normalisation with Israel will not go far because he has no influence on the government or the Sudanese people

Shifting allegiances

Translation: Read the comments of the Sudanese Minister Al-Mahdi
to express his public support for normalisation with Israel.
I'd love to have him in Israel to promote the peace process
in our region

Al-Mahdi claimed his opinions were representative of a widely held view in the country's government, suggesting there had been a shift in political opinion with regards to normalising relations with Israel since January.

"The issue was discussed during the Sudan National Dialogue Conference," the minister said, adding that a number of ministers voted to change foreign policy towards Israel.

The opposition Popular Congress Party denied this claim however, telling Sudan's al-Watan newspaper his comments showed "weakness".

"Mubarak's call for normalisation with Israel will not go far because he has no influence on the government or the Sudanese people," said Abu Bakr Abd al-Raziq.

Israel's Minister of Communications, Ayoub Kara, reacted to the minister's comments by inviting Mahdi to Israel for an official visit. The Sudan News Agency reported that this public invitation never happened.

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