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Sources: Gantz stopped army officers from joining Israel delegation to Sudan

November 25, 2020 at 12:39 pm

A protest against government’s decision to resume diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel, in Khartoum, Sudan on 26 October 2020 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz refused to allow senior security and military officials from joining the Israeli delegation that visited Sudan on Monday,  Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Monday.

The television station quoted Israeli sources as saying that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted senior officers from the Israeli army to join the delegation to discuss bilateral security affairs in addition to cooperation in the fields of economy, agriculture and water.

However, the sources said Gantz rejected Netanyahu’s request, saying that Sudan still has not been removed from the US “blacklist” of countries that support terrorism.

Moreover, Gantz said the Israeli army officers should not partake in such a delegation because they could find themselves in an embarrassing or dangerous predicament in an emergency situation.

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Gantz’s decision is said to have escalated tensions with Netanyahu whose office staff accused the defence minister of rejecting Netanyahu’s request for personal reasons.

The Israeli delegation included members of the National Security Council and was headed by the former Shin Bet agent “Maoz”. It was the first visit to Sudan by Israeli officials since the two countries announced a US-brokered normalisation agreement on 23 October.