Pompeo departs Israel, making history on first direct flight from TLV to Sudan

There have been reports in the past week that Sudan also plans to sign a normalization deal with Israel, but the country's government has denied the claims.

US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo departs from Ben Gurion airport after completing his visit in Israel, on August 25, 2020 (Credit: Ziv Sokolov/US Embassy Jerusalem)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed Israel Tuesday morning and made history as he took off on the first official direct flight from Israel to Sudan.
Pompeo was in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz following the announcement earlier this month about the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. He will fly to Sudan and then visit Bahrain and UAE. Pompeo's trip is part of a US effort to recruit additional countries which will normalize ties with Israel. 

In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Pompeo said that that he could not discuss which countries would be next in line after the UAE, but that more would come.

“I couldn’t tell you the timing and I couldn’t tell you which countries, but I think as other nations around the world come to see that there is enormous benefit to the relationship – from a diplomatic perspective, an economic perspective, and from a security perspective – I think that other nations will see that it is the right thing to do,” he said. “I think they will also come to see that building out this set of relationships is the pathway that will lead to stability in the Middle East as well.”
In March, Sudan Sudan began allowing flights on their way to Israel to enter in its airspace.The decision was made after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in February and announced that they would take steps toward normalization. There have been reports in the past week that Sudan also plans to sign a normalization deal with Israel, but the country's government has denied the claims.
Pompeo met with Netanyahu, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi during his visit to discuss the normalization deal with the UAE and regional developments. Israeli officials expressed concerns about the rumored Emirati purchase of F-35 fighter jets from the US and discussed combating Iran's influence in the Middle East.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.