Sudan has fired a foreign ministry spokesman one day after he claimed that the Muslim-majority African nation had engaged in peace talks with Israel.
Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Haydar Sadiq told Sky News Arabia on Tuesday that Sudan “aspires towards a peace agreement with Israel… a relationship of equals built upon Khartoum’s interests.” Continuing, Sadiq said, “There’s no reason for the enmity to continue…We do not deny the communication between the two countries.”
“Both Sudan and Israel will benefit from such an agreement if it is signed, at the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” the spokesman said, referring to Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen’s remarks over the weekend that he believes Sudan and Israel will agree to a peace deal by the end of 2020.
“There will be, this year, an additional [agreement] with an African country, in my estimation Sudan, that will also sign a peace agreement with the State of Israel,” Cohen said in an interview with Israeli media. Cohen’s prediction followed news on August 13 that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would normalize diplomatic relations between them.
Sadiq said on Tuesday that he confirmed talks between Sudan and Israel because no senior Sudan government officials had publicly addressed Cohen’s comments on a future Sudan-Israel peace agreement. Sadiq confirmed his comments to Reuters later on Tuesday, according to the news agency, describing the UAE’s decision to normalize relations with Israel as “a brave and bold step.”
Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Qamar al-Din Ismail denied Sadiq’s comments on Tuesday night, however, saying the government was “surprised” by Sadiq’s claim that Sudan and Israel had engaged in peace talks.
Sudan’s foreign ministry fired Sadiq hours later on Wednesday, the Sudanese state news agency SUNA reported, according to Reuters.
“The Foreign Ministry was surprised to see the statements of Ambassador Haider Badawi Sadiq, the ministry’s spokesman, about Sudan’s attempt to establish relations with Israel. These statements have created an ambiguous situation that needs clarification,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Ismail said in a statement on Tuesday night. “The matter of relations with Israel has not been discussed in the Foreign Ministry at all. No one tasked Haidar Badawi Sadiq with making statements on this matter,” Ismail added.