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Sudan’s Burhan says meeting with Netanyahu was driven by national security


Israeli PM Netanyahu shakes hands with the only Sudanese diplomat who accompanied al-Burhan to Uganda on 3 February 2020 (ST photo)
February 4, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The head of Transitional Sovereign Council has admitted he overstepped his constitutional powers when he met with the Israeli prime minister but he stressed it was motivated by Sudan’s national security.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda and agreed to work for normalising bilateral relations. The government did not condemn the meeting but issued a statement saying they were not informed of this step.

Later on, several groups of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) criticised the meeting and stressed that al-Burhan breached the Constitutional Document pointing that the diplomacy is part of the government’s attribution.

Also, the Sovereign Council and government held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the matter.

Following the joint meeting, al-Burhan issued a statement where he admitted exceeding his constitutional powers.

"I have taken this step driven by my responsibility to work tirelessly to protect and maintain Sudanese national security and achieve the supreme interests of the Sudanese people," he said in a statement issued late after the meeting.

"I affirm that discussing and developing the relationship between Sudan and Israel is the responsibility of the authorities concerned with the matter as stipulated in the Constitutional Document," he further stressed.

The meeting with Netanyahu was generally approved by the Sudanese even if some leaders such as Sadiq al-Mahdi of the National Umma Party said it was not productive for peace in the Middle East.

However, the general feeling was expressed by the Unionist Alliance when it stressed in its statement that the meeting constitutes "a clear violation of the Constitutional Document".

Also, the FFC leadership issued a statement focusing on the constitutional violation.

"The Constitutional Document provides that external relations are the prerogative of the executive authority, therefore what happened constitutes a major transgression that we reject with firmness and clarity".

Al-Burhan believes that having contact with Israel and establishing dalmatic relations will help to remove his country from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism as his country is experiencing a difficult economic situation.

Observers in Khartoum agree that al-Burhan meeting with Netanyahu at least contributed to improving the international image of the military component of the transitional authority.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called al-Burhan and invited him to visit Washington on Saturday 24 hours before the meeting with Netanyahu.


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  • 5 February 07:01, by Fathi

    Saudi, UAE, & US attempts of legitimizing and polishing the military’s image are viewed as a shift to delegitimize the civilians in government and ultimately undermine the democratic transition.

    • 5 February 07:05, by Fathi

      This is due to delays in lifting SST designation, undermining peace negotiations by making it a condition to lifting SST designation, undermining negotiations with 1998 bombing victims by making it a condition to lifting SST designation, recent visa lottery ban,

      • 5 February 07:08, by Fathi

        despite not banning Sudan while Bashir was in office, in addition to SecState not meeting with civilian PM but inviting military for meeting, undermining our constitution by calling military instead of foreign minister or PM to meet with Netanyahu, no updates on financial support or aid, etc

        • 5 February 07:12, by Fathi

          On the other hand, the US agreed to exchange ambassadors, have invited Hamdok to discuss how much Sudan will be exploited, & organized a friends of Sudan group who aren’t going to help until Sudan is removed from the SST.

          • 5 February 07:16, by Fathi

            Given the recent history of US & gulf support to military figures like Egypt’s Sisi instead of democratically elected president Morsi, in addition to the lack of support to the civilians in Sudan’s government during this fragile time, the US government’s stated intentions of "supporting democratic transition in Sudan" are questionable to say the least.

            • 5 February 07:19, by Fathi

              The US must take more of a proactive role in supporting the civilians in the transitional government, if it truly supports democracy in Sudan.

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