Accessibility links

Breaking News

Sudan Fires Foreign Ministry Spokesman After Israel Statement

FILE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building is pictured in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, June 23, 2020.
FILE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building is pictured in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, June 23, 2020.

The spokesman for Sudan’s foreign ministry was fired Wednesday, a day after telling a media outlet that Sudan is getting ready to sign an agreement with Israel to normalize relations between the two countries.

Acting foreign minister Omer Gamaruddeen Ismail said the government was surprised by the statement from spokesman Haider Badawi Saddiq, adding that relations between Sudan and Israel have not been discussed in the foreign ministry at all.

“No one tasked Badawi with making statements on this matter,” said Ismail.

Saddiq told Sky News Arabia on Tuesday that Sudan was hoping to reach an agreement with Israel and to build a relationship with the country, adding that normalizing relations with Israel would help the entire region.

“We shall be able to build an exemplary peace deal to all our neighboring countries in the region, so that they are able to follow our footsteps and do the same with Israel. I would like to note here that even Palestinians have had a long history of diplomatic ties with Israel. So, why should it be right for them and considered wrong for us,” Saddiq told Sky News Arabia.

Saddiq said communication between Sudanese and Israeli officials was ongoing and said his statement should be taken as official.

“As a civil servant and as a responsible diplomat in the foreign ministry, I am keen on the interest of my own country. I didn’t come up with this statement from nowhere, but I built it based on the ongoing politics in the country,” said Saddiq.

His remarks did not go over well with the government. Less than 24 hours later, Saddiq was fired.

The government-run Sudan News Agency confirmed Wednesday that Ismail has fired Saddiq, without providing a reason for his dismissal.

The United Arab Emirates recently agreed to establish relations with Israel but most Arab and Muslim countries have refused to do so, mainly due to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which Palestinians claim for a future state.

Some Sudanese political parties released statements criticizing Saddiq for claiming the government supported normalizing relations with Israel. The National Umma Party, a member of the transitional government, said the government has no constitutional rights to seek any new foreign relations. It said resolving contentious national issues is the focus of the government right now.

Sudanese protesters returned to the streets Monday to demand more reforms a year after a power-sharing deal was reached between the pro-democracy movement and the military.