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Sudan says no promise were made to Israel of “normalising ties” between the two countries

Sudan’s transitional cabinet said Thursday that the country’s leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhanthat, upon meeting Netanyahu, had made no promises to the Israeli premier.

“The chief of the sovereign council told us … he did not give any commitment and did not talk of normalizing relations,” government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Salih told reporters early Thursday.

“He did not give a promise of normalizing or having diplomatic relations.”

Salih said the issue of relations with Israel was something the current transitional government was not mandated to decide.

“This government has a very limited mandate. The issue of relations with Israel is beyond its mandate,” he said.

The transitional government headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was formed months after the ouster of longtime despot Omar al-Bashir amid nationwide protests in April last year.

Burhan heads the ruling sovereign council, a joint civilian and military body tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule.

Israel remains technically at war with Sudan, which supported hardline Islamists, including, for a period, Al-Qaeda, during Bashir’s rule.

After their meeting, Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli premier believed that post-Bashir Sudan was headed “in a positive direction”.

It said he and Burhan had “agreed to start cooperation leading to normalization of the relationship between the two countries”.

The Palestine Liberation Organization called Burhan and Netanyahu’s meeting “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people”.

Sudan has long been part of a decades-old Arab boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians and its occupation of Arab lands.

On Thursday, veteran Sudanese politician Sadeq al-Mahdi, who was prime minister when Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, spoke out against normalizing ties with Israel.

“We reject this meeting as it will impact our national interest negatively. We are against it strongly,” Mahdi told reporters.

“We close the door completely for normalizing of relations with Israel.”