Israeli sources revealed that the outgoing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asked the President of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, during a two-hour meeting in Uganda, to open the Sudanese airspace to the Israeli planes coming from Latin America, which will shorten the flights by three hours.
The Times of Israel quoted the source saying that the meeting between Netanyahu and Al-Burhan came as part of Tel Aviv’s efforts to achieve its goals in the aviation field, noting that Israeli officials had been expressing their aspiration to improve relations with Sudan for a long time, given Khartoum’s significant role in the region and its geographical location.
The newspaper reported that the development of relations with African countries is one of Netanyahu’s external approach priorities, noting that he succeeded in resuming relations with Chad last year.
In January 2019, a high-ranking Israeli official confirmed to Hebrew media that the Chadian President Idriss Déby’s visit to Jerusalem paved the way for Israel to normalize relations with African countries with a Muslim majority, especially Sudan, Mali and Niger.
Press reports indicated, at the time, that the Israeli diplomatic movement in Africa is aimed at establishing a new path for flights to South America while explaining that using the airspace of countries known for their hostility to Israel, especially Chad and Sudan, would allow Tel Aviv to operate more direct flights to this continent.
Netanyahu announced earlier that he had met Al-Burhan in Uganda, in an effort to normalize relations with Sudan, while a Sudanese official confirmed that the UAE had coordinated the meeting.
The Israeli side took the initiative to announce the unprecedented meeting, while the Sudanese Sovereignty Council opted for silence amid widespread Arab and Palestinian condemnation.