Sudan’s premier Abdalla Hamdok told Washington’s top diplomat Tuesday that his government had no mandate to normalise ties with Israel and that any such move would come after the transitional period, a spokesman said.
“The Prime Minister clarified” to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “that the transitional period in Sudan is being led by a wide alliance with a specific agenda — to complete the transition, achieve peace and stability in the country and hold free elections,” Sudan’s government spokesman Faisal Saleh said in a statement.
It “does not have a mandate beyond these tasks or to decide on normalisation with Israel,” Hamdok was quoted as saying.
The transitional government, which took power last year after longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army following mass protests, is set to remain in office until elections in 2022.
Pompeo arrived in Khartoum from Jerusalem on Tuesday, less than two weeks after Israel and the United Arab Emirates said they would normalise ties in a landmark US-backed deal.
Pompeo is on a regional tour as part of a drive to convince more Arab countries to normalise ties with the Jewish state.
But Hamdok urged the US not to link “the subject of lifting Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list and the subject of normalisation with Israel.”
The US put Sudan on its state sponsors of terror blacklist in 1993 because of the Bashir regime’s support for jihadists.
Osama bin Laden lived there for years in the 1990s before heading to Afghanistan.
The continued blacklisting makes investors wary of putting money into Sudan, even after the US in 2017 lifted a trade embargo. Being on the list prevents the country from benefiting from World Bank or IMF support.
The UAE on August 13 announced it would become the third Arab nation, after Egypt and Jordan, to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.