Sudan refuses to allow Israel in its airspace en route to Kenya

Israel and Sudan have no official bilateral relations.

January 6, 2019 08:29
1 minute read.
Sudan's President Omar Ahmed al-Bashir looks on during Sudan's Saudi Air Force show during the final

Sudan's President Omar Ahmed al-Bashir looks on during Sudan's Saudi Air Force show during the final training exercise between the Saudi Air Force and Sudanese Air Forces at Merowe Airport in Merowe, Northern State, Sudan April 9, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH)


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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rejected any possibility of normalization with Israel in an interview with Israeli public broadcaster KAN on Saturday night.

Bashir refused to allow Kenyan airplanes its airspace en route to Israel, after reports in late December said Sudan was expected to allow it. The refusal also followed comments made last year by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying Sudan would permit Israeli airliners to use its airspace while flying to South America.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed also denied that the government in Khartoum intended to normalize its relations with Israel, Kan reported in December.

Israel and Sudan have no official relations.

In a debate in the Sudanese parliament, Ahmed said the government’s position on the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem was firm, KAN said.

In late November, Abdel-Sakhi Abbas, the leader of the ruling National Congress Party in Sudan, was quoted by the Turkish Anadolu Agency service as saying Sudan’s position on normalization of ties with Israel was clear “and is fundamentally linked to the Palestinian cause.”

According to Abbas, Israel occupies “a Muslim Arab state” and “prevents Muslims from practicing their religious rites. When Israel ceases its hostile practices toward Palestine, Sudan can establish a relationship with it.”

Abbas’s comments came after speculation that Sudan would follow Chad in establishing ties with Israel.

Chad President Idriss Déby made a historic unannounced visit to Israel in November.

Both Netanyahu and Déby stressed the need for cooperation in fighting terrorism, apparently the prime impetus in the renewal of ties, as Chad is on the front lines in Africa battling a number of different radical Islamic organizations. Déby characterized terrorism as a disease of humanity that necessitates cooperation by all countries to defeat.

“Chad is a very important country in Africa, and a very important country for Israel,” Netanyahu said, standing alongside the African leader. “I am happy we are resuming our friendship,” he added.

The visit to Israel was the first by a Chadian president.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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