Netanyahu talks about normalizing ties with Sudan at secret meeting with its leader in Uganda


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Sudan’s leader and discussed normalization during Netanyahu’s  one-day trip to Uganda.

The Israeli leader’s office confirmed that he met with the chief of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Monday evening.

“It has been agreed to start a cooperation that will lead to normalizing the ties between the countries,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The statement also said that al-Burhan “is interested in helping his country go through a process of modernization by taking it out of isolation and placing it on the map.”

The leaders met secretly in Entebbe at the residence of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Netanyahu has made expanding ties in Africa a foreign policy priority. In 2019, Israel re-established ties with Chad.

During the visit, Netanyahu told Museveni that Israel would open an embassy in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Netanyahu said he hoped that Uganda would open an embassy in Israel. Museveni responded: “If a friend says, I want your embassy here, rather than there, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. We are studying that.”

Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, also laid a wreath at the Entebbe Airport terminal where his brother Yoni was killed 43 years ago on July 4, 1976, during an operation to rescue 94 mostly Israeli hostages who were hijacked aboard an Air France flight that left Tel Aviv for Paris. Netanyahu first visited Uganda in 2016 on the 40th anniversary of Operation Entebbe.

Following Sudan’s  30-year-long military dictatorship, protests that erupted in late 2018 resulted in a coupin April 2019. The country currently is governed by an 11-member Sovereignty Council made up of members of the military and civilians. Al-Burhan is the council chairman, and was formerly the general inspector of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

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