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The New Arab Staff

UAE arranged 'secret meeting' between Sudan militia leader and Mossad chief

Dagalo and Cohen discussed announcing full normalisation between Khartoum and Tel Aviv [Getty[

Date of publication: 21 August, 2020

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High-ranking Emirati officials were in attendance, according to the source, including the brother of UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting bringing together the leader of a Sudanese militia and the head of Israel's spy agency, an exclusive source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister-site. 

Mohammed Dagalo, the commander of Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Suppport Forces (RSF), better known by the nickname Hemdti, arrived on a private plane to a secret location where he allegedly met Mossaf chief Yossi Cohen.

High-ranking Emirati officials were in attendance, according to the source, including National Security Adviser Tahnoun Bin Zayed, the brother of UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The source did not specify the date of the meeting, with talks allegedly covering a range of bilateral plans, including announcement of the full normalisation of ties between Khartoum and Tel Aviv, as well as broader economic cooperation.

Sudan's soverieignty council has come out to deny reports any meeting took place between Cohen and the powerful commander, whose RSF is accused of widespread human rights abuses, and finds its origins among the infamous Janjaweed militias accused of atrocities in Darfur.

A spokesman for the council, Mohamed AlFaki Suleiman was defiant, saying that the transitional government ordered an executive branch in parliament to review relations with Israel.

Sulieman told The New Arab the measure came in the aftermath of a controversial February meeting between Sudan’s military head of state General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Burhan did not sign a peace agreement during his meeting with Netanyahu in Uganda, Khartoum agreed to allow Israeli flights to transit through Sudanese airspace.

The Israeli premier’s office, for their part, described the meeting with the leader as a first step towards "normalising ties".

Burhan heads the sovereign ruling council, a joint civilian and military body charged with with overseeing the country's transition to civilian rule.

Yesterday, a Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman who was sacked for confirming normalisation talks had begun between Khartoum and Tel Aviv, told Israel's public broadcaster he did not regret his decision.

Read more: Sacked Sudanese spokesman has 'no regret' over Israel remarks, says Sudan-Israel normalisation still underway

Haidar Badawi Sadig said he was tired of secret talks between Sudan and Israel being confirmed by outside sources.

When he made the announcement, Sadig said there was no reason for continuing enmity between the two countries, adding that any such agreement would "safeguard the interest of Sudan without compromising its principles".

Observers have linked a possible normalisation deal between Sudan and Israel with Khartoum's removal from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a designation that subjects Sudan to sanctions and limits international aid to its ravaged economy.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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