Uganda, Sudan warm to Israel
During a trip to Africa this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reported warming relations with two African nations and some “good news for Israel.”
Sudan’s leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, made history when announced normalization between the countries after a secret meeting with Netanyahu earlier this week. Burhan also said his country would allow flights to and from Israel to use Sudanese airspace which would significantly improve air travel between Israel and South America.
Israeli officials said the two countries are “setting up teams to work on how to advance cooperation between the countries and establish diplomatic relations.”
The Associated Press reported that the United Arab Emirates organized the meeting between Netanyahu and Burhan. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Burhan for “his leadership in normalizing ties with Israel.”
Burhan said his government would weigh the advantages versus drawbacks of ties with Israel.
Netanyahu also met with the president of Uganda this week and is holding out hope both Israel and Uganda will establish embassies in their countries’ respective capitals “in the near future.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni responded, “We’re studying that.”
Nevertheless, Netanyahu was satisfied with the meeting.
“We agreed to begin cooperation that will lead to normalization of relations between the two countries,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. “History!” “Israel is returning to Africa, big time. Africa already returned to Israel. These are relations that are very important, in the diplomatic, economic and security areas, and many other realms,” he elaborated in an interview with reporters.
African countries have traditionally supported the Palestinian cause, but in recent years, thanks to intense efforts by Netanyahu, relations between the Jewish state and the African continent have improved.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat called the Israel-Sudan meeting “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a blatant departure from the Arab Peace Initiative.”
They realize that there is nothing to be gained for their countries by befriending the dysfunctional PLO, but Israel has much to offer in terms of security and technology.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrive in Uganda to a warm welcome on February 3, 2020. (Haim Zach/GPO)