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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sudan repeals Israel boycott law amid normalisation efforts despite protests against 'illegitimate decision'

Normalising relations with Israel is unpopular in Sudan [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 April, 2021

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Sudan has repealed the Israel boycott act, which has been in place since 1958, despite nationwide protests.

Sudan on Monday abolished a decades-old law on boycotting Israel, part of efforts to establish normal ties with the Jewish state.

A bill was approved at a joint meeting of Sudan's ruling Sovereign Council and Cabinet that annuls the 1958 law. The law had forbidden diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari said in a Twitter post.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The country is now ruled by a joint military and civilian government that seeks better ties with Washington and the West.

The Cabinet approved the bill that repealed the old law earlier this month.

The Cabinet also affirmed Sudan’s endorsement of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

Monday's measure would allow Sudanese to do business with Israelis. It would also allow Sudanese to visit relatives living in in the Jewish state. There are at least 6,000 Sudanese in Israel.

Under the 1958 law, violators could be punished to up to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine.

This comes six months after the two countries normalised ties after the UAE and Bahrain.

Sudan's decision to normalise relations with Israel was a controversial one that sparked protests, particularly due to the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Last week, Sudan’s Arab National Congress, the Islamic National Congress and the General Congress of Arab Parties released a joint statement condemning the abolition of the bill.

"In 1958, Sudan criminalised all dealings with the Zionist entity in expressing the authentic, established views of the Sudanese people towards their solidarity with Palestine,” the statement read.

The signatories added that the transnational government is acting illegitimately and the Sudanese people are aware of this fact.

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