Pompeo visits Sudan on tour to boost Israel’s Arab ties

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Sudan Tuesday on a tour confirming more Arab countries to normalize ties with Israel, following the US-brokered Israel-UAE agreement.

Pompeo, the first top American diplomat since 2005, arrived on a historic “first official non-stop flight” from Tel Aviv, he tweeted from the plane.

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Israel continues technically at war and has no formal diplomatic relations with Sudan, which for years supported hardline Islamist forces under its former strongman Omar al-Bashir.

But its new interim government has vowed to sever ties with the Bashir era since his ouster last year amid popular pro-democracy protests.

Pompeo was to attend Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah el-Burhan to address continued US support for the civilian-led transitional government and show support for deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship, the State Department announced.

Sudan, which has started sweeping social and political reforms, now hopes The US will soon take it off its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism as it seeks to fully re-integrate into the international community.

Closer ties with US ally Israel would assist, and both sides have already taken a series of steps, muddied however by mixed messaging from Sudan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Burhan in Uganda in February and later announced that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate in normalizing relations.

The Sudanese cabinet later denied that Burhan had made promises that are controversial in most parts of the Arab world.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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