As Chad president Idriss Deby visited Yad Vashem and centers of Israeli agricultural expertise in the south on Monday during the second day of his unprecedented visit, a senior Sudanese official denied reports that his country will be the next African state to renew ties with Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Abdel-Sakhi Abbas, the leader of the ruling National Congress Party in Sudan, was quoted by the Turkish Anadolu Agency service as saying that Sudan’s position on normalization of ties with Israel is clear “and is fundamentally linked to the Palestinian cause.”
According to Abbas, Israel occupies “a Muslim Arab state” and “prevents Muslims from practicing their religious rites. When Israel ceases its hostile practices toward Palestine, Sudan can establish a relationship with it.”
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday standing alongside Deby in Jerusalem that he will soon be visiting additional Arab countries, Abbas said Sudan would not be among the destinations. Netanyahu paid a public visit to Oman last month.
“[Netanyahu] cannot visit Sudan,” Abbas was quoted as saying. “There has been no discussion about this visit among official Sudanese circles.”
Rabbi Marc Schneier, a Long Island rabbi who has established good ties with leaders in the Persian Gulf as head of an organization promoting Jewish-Islamic ties called the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said there has been talk inside the royal palace in Bahrain and the foreign ministry of a possible Netanyahu visit, as well as a visit by a senior Bahraini official to Israel.
Schneier was in Bahrain several weeks ago. He added that when Netanyahu went to Oman and met Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the focus was on the visit itself. However, the focus of a possible Netanyahu visit to Bahrain, he said, would be on “establishing diplomatic relations.”
As additional Persian Gulf emirates are taking steps toward Israel, Schneier said that Bahrain – which has been sending positive signs to Israel for a number of years – would be interested in “taking back the narrative” and being the first Persian Gulf country to establish ties with Israel.
Economy Minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio he was invited to attend a conference on technology next year in Bahrain.
Deby, meanwhile, told i24News, that the goal of his current trip is also the re-establishment of ties.
“I said yesterday that we will renew diplomatic ties between Chad and Israel and that will happen, God willing, in the coming days or weeks,” he said. He added that he will not be visiting the PA during this trip, because the purpose of this trip is to renew Chad’s connection with Israel, which was severed in 1972.
While Deby held diplomatic talks with Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin soon after his arrival on Sunday, on Monday he went to Yad Vashem, toured the Gilad research center for Arid and Semi-Arid Agricultural research in the Negev, and visited the Netafim drip irrigation plant at Kibbutz Hatzerim.
He is scheduled to leave Israel on Tuesday morning.