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Israel International Relations: Sudan

Sudan and Israel have a complicated history and have recently, as of 2016, considered normalizing relations. Sudan declared war on Israel during the Arab-Israeli war in June 1967, and although Sudanese forces did not participate in active combat during the conflict they supported Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon in their fight against Israel. Despite this, the Sudanese government expressed support for the Camp David Peace Accords, signed at the White House by Israeli and Egyptian officials on September 17, 1978.

Sudanese leaders have repeated over the years that they will never normalize relations with Israel. Sudanese President Omar Bashir blamed Israel for an explosion at a military factory in the country's capital during October 2012. Speaking about the explosion, Bashir reffered to Israel as the “Zionist enemy that will remain the enemy.” Bashir outright rejected the possibility of improving relations between Sudan and Israel in a statement to Sudan's official Blue Nile TV. Sudanese leaders have blamed Israel for other explosions and air strikes against their military facilities throughout the years.

No formal diplomatic relations exist between Sudan and Israel, and the relationship had been defined by years of hostility. The Israeli government considers Sudan an enemy state, and does not allow Israeli citizens to travel there.

Foreign Minister of Sudan, Ibrahim Ghandour, stated of normalizing ties with Israel on January 14, 2016, that his country “[doesn't] mind to study any such proposal.” This is the first time that any Sudanese official has voiced the idea of improving ties to Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not respond to these remarks. Whether or not to normalize ties with Israel is up to Sudan's National Dialogue Conference.

In 2019, a research center opened in Bern, Switzerland, that will be staffed by scientists in a variety of fields, including oceanography, biology, genetics, ecology and geology, from all the countries bordering the Red Sea. The center will study the effects of climate change, agriculture, urbanization, illegal fishing and industrial waste on Red Sea corals. This cooperation between Israel, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan is unprecedented.

Sources: Wikipedia;
Sue Surkes, “Sudan said willing to consider normalizing ties with Israel,” Haaretz, (January 21, 2016);
“Sudan's Bashir: We Will Never Normalize Relations With Israel,” Haaretz, (November 10, 2012);
Zafrir Rinat, “Israeli Scientists Join Colleagues From Sudan, Saudi Arabia to Save Red Sea Corals,” Haaretz, (June 6, 2019).