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El Mahdi: ‘El Burhan’s meeting Israeli PM was a mistake’

February 7 - 2020 KHARTOUM
El Sadig El Mahdi at his return to Sudan in December 2018 (RD)
El Sadig El Mahdi at his return to Sudan in December 2018 (RD)

El Sadig El Mahdi, head of the National Umma Party (NUP), demanded at a press conference yesterday that chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council Abdelfattah El Burhan “admit his mistake” in meeting the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He called it “procedurally wrong, politically harmful, and igniting discord within Sudan”.

Normalisation of the relations with Israel is controversial and should not be raised during a transitional period, El Mahdi said. It can be addressed during the elections that are to be held in three years. The NUP itself is categorically against any normalisation of the relations with Israel.

El Mahdi said that the armed forces do not have the right to decide on issues such as the normalisation of relations with Israel.

He stated that it is “a big illusion” to believe that Israel will help to get Sudan removed from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list. This is something US Congress decides about, not Israel and not even the US administration, he said.

Likewise, Israel will not help Sudan to get debt relief, El Mahdi said, as this is in the hands of the Paris Club, a group of countries, mainly in Europe and North America, that tries to find co-ordinated and sustainable solutions to payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries.

He added that it is the US judiciary that decides about compensation for the victims of terrorist acts committed in the era of the ousted Al Bashir regime.

El Mahdi agrees with the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Sudanese Professionals Association that the current transitional constitutional situation does not allow initiatives of individuals, such as El Burhan has undertaken.

Baathist and Nasserist parties

Several Baathist and Nasserist parties rejected any normalisation of the relations with Israel. At a press conference yesterday they described the meeting of El Burhan with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as “international intelligence work” and “an imperial project”.

They said that the army should not make foreign policy. Its tasks are limited to securing the country and protecting its sovereignty.


El Mahdi reiterated that the ongoing peace negotiations in Juba will not achieve the desired peace, because it is conducted in a flawed manner that creates differences between the various parties.

He accused some of the armed rebel movements of exploiting the current climate of freedom to recruit new members.

El Mahdi described Prime Minister Hamdok's visit a month ago to Kauda in South Kordofan as “a grave mistake that harms the cause of peace and ignites a sharp dispute”. Kauda is the stronghold of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu). The visit is seen as historic as it has been a no-go area for Sudanese government officials since the war broke out in South Kordofan in 2011.

El Mahdi stressed the importance of disarmament and claimed no more than 10 percent of the weapons was collected during recent disarmament campaigns.

He threatened to call for the election of governors in case his party was not granted a share equal to its weight.

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