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Military takeover raises Israeli concerns on Sudan ties

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - OCTOBER 25: Sudanese people take the streets after the 'military coup' attempt in Khartoum, Sudan on October 25, 2021. Political parties on Monday called for a general strike and protests in Sudan, following a military takeover of the civilian government and arrest of top officials. Officials in Khartoum said Monday that the Sudanese military arrested Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and members of his government. ( Mahmoud Hjaj - Anadolu Agency )
Sudanese people take the streets after the 'military coup' attempt in Khartoum, Sudan on October 25, 2021. [Mahmoud Hjaj - Anadolu Agency]

The military takeover in Sudan has raised concerns in Israel over the future of normalisation of ties between the two countries, Anadolu News Agency reports.

On Monday, the Sudanese military announced a state of emergency and dissolved the government, hours after detaining the country's Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and ministers in his civilian government.

Israeli media said the military takeover will derail Sudan's access to the US-sponsored normalisation agreements, known as Abraham Accords.

There was no official comment from the Israeli authorities on the situation in Sudan, but the Israeli public broadcaster, KAN News, said that Israel was engaged in "several consultations" on the apparent coup in Sudan.

READ: Sudan army ousted government to stop a civil war, general says

"The recent moves in Sudan are likely to delay Sudan's official accession to the Abraham Accords," the news portal said, citing sources familiar with the deliberations.

Abraham Accords refers to last year's US-sponsored agreements that saw four Arab countries—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco—normalise relations with Israel.

KAN News quoted an unnamed senior Sudanese diplomat as saying that the military takeover will not dramatically affect normalisation with Israel.

The source argued that the majority of the military leaders in Sudan support the normalisation process with Israel and have consolidated their power after dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.

However, the diplomat, who KAN said belongs to Hamdok's camp, warned that "the coup may weaken popular support for normalisation."

"The [Sudanese] people are fed up with military coups," the diplomat said.

"The army made a huge mistake and it may face an uprising from within," which will worsen if the US decides "to cut off economic aid that Sudan desperately needs," he said.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post newspaper published an analysis titled: "Will Sudan coup harm Israeli ties?"

The analysis argued that the recent developments in Sudan could "affect Sudan's relations with Israel because it was one of the countries that joined the path to normalisation in the wake of the Abraham Accords."

For its part, Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said that the military takeover in Sudan "is likely to lead to the return of (US) sanctions and postponement or abandonment of the (normalisation) agreement completely."

The media outlet noted that the Sudanese military leadership was more supportive of normalising relations with Israel than the political wing as they were keen to see US sanctions lifted.

"Although the normalisation process was slow due to the serious disagreements that plagued the Sudanese leadership, the normalisation process scored a few points over the past year, including a visit to Sudan by former Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen, and the visit of a Sudanese security delegation to Israel," it added.

READ: US suspends $700m in aid for Sudan

The report said the Sudanese leadership is interested in formalising relations with Israel to ensure all sanctions are lifted, but warned that Sudanese political forces opposing military rule might undermine this.

According to the newspaper, the West, led by the US, is unlikely to accept a military rule in Sudan and if relations between Washington and Khartoum deteriorate, then Tel Aviv's relations with Sudan will also be affected.

It noted that US sanctions on Khartoum were gradually being lifted, but also noted that they might be re-imposed due to the military takeover, a step that may force the Sudanese military leadership to back down from its normalisation deal with Israel.

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