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Mahdi pledges to support Sudan-Israel normalization, says al-Burhan


October 26, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, said that the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi pledged to support the normalization with Israel if the Legislative Council approved it.

NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 November 2014 (ST)However, al Burhan did not specify if the NUP leader spoke about the appointed legislative council during the transitional period or the elected council at the end of this period.

Previously, al-Mahdi told the BBC Arabic Service he would oppose the transitional government and seek to topple Hamdok’s cabinet in the event of normalization with Sudan.

Speaking in an interview with the Sudan TV channel to explain the deal struck with Israel, al-Burhan said he consulted with all political forces and found that 90 per cent of them do not oppose this step because it is in the interest of the Sudanese people and the country.

"I consulted with Imam al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, and he said that if this matter is presented to the Legislative Council and approved by it, then there is no difference (with the government over it)," he said.

Al-Burhan stressed the right of all parties to freedom of expression, as long as everyone agrees that the agreement becomes binding if endorsed by the Legislative Council.

He also stressed that "the elected parliament" has the right to reconsider the normalization agreement or other issues.

The Chairman of the Sovereign Council met with the Israeli Prime Minister in Uganda on February 3, 2020, to discuss the normalization of relations between the two countries in exchange for supporting Sudan end its international isolation and removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Al-Mahdi reacts

Immediately after the end of the TV interview, al-Mahdi issued a statement saying that he met Al-Burhan on October 25, after the announcement of the agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

He said he renewed his party’s support for the transitional government.

"This support will continue on condition that the government announces that normalization is decided by an elected parliament (...)," further emphasized the short statement.

Al-Mahdi’s requirement that the normalization is endorsed by an elected parliament means that the transitional government is ineligible for normalization with Israel.

It is worth mentioning that Islamist parties refused the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as Arab nationalist parties.

The Sudanese Communist Party voiced its opposition to the normalization with Israel but reiterated their support to the transitional government.

Also, the Democratic Unionist Party of Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani supported the rapprochement with Israel.

Al-Burhan for his part seemed confident about the popular support to the deal with Israel. He challenged any political party to go to the elections with slogans hostile to the normalization process.

He also disclosed he and the Sudanese Prime Minister discussed the timing of normalization and the possibility of waiting for the end of the US elections.

He said that after consultations that included the negotiating delegation, they found it was better for them to accomplish the removal from the terror list during the term of President Trump.

"The (economic) situation in Sudan does not allow waiting for another period that may last until next September," he said.

On Sunday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry announced that talks would be held in Khartoum with an Israeli delegation to draft the normalization agreement.


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