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Sudan defends normalising ties with Israel as Gaza conflict erupts

Sudan defends normalising ties with Israel as Gaza conflict erupts
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diplomatic crisis

The head of Sudan's transitional government, Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, on Monday defended the normalisation of relations between Khartoum and Israel as the conflict in the Gaza strip erupts. But he said it had "nothing to do with the right of the Palestinians to create their own state".

The fiercest hostilities in the region in years is now in its second week. Gaza health officials say 201 Palestinians have been killed in the latest violence, including 58 children and 28 women. In Israel, 10 people have been killed, including 10 children.

Last Monday, Hamas began a rocket assault after weeks of tensions over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. The attacks were also in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near the al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hamas is a group regarded by Israel, the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group.

Ties with Israel

In January, Khartoum signed normalisation agreements with Israel under the aegis of the United States, which a few months later removed Sudan from its blacklist of countries accused of supporting terrorism.

Three other countries in the region - the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco - have also normalised in recent months their relations with the Jewish state also under the aegis of Washington.

These agreements, which shattered the Arab consensus that no deal is possible with the Jewish state without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have been denounced as "betrayal" by the Palestinians.

"Normalisation has nothing to do with the right of Palestinians to create their own state," Burhane told broadcaster France 24 on the sidelines of an economic conference in Paris.

It is a "reconciliation with the international community which includes Israel".

"What is happening in Gaza against defenseless civilians is regrettable," said Burhane, reiterating Sudan's position for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the creation of a Palestinian state.

Khartoum maintained a strict anti-Israel stance during the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 following mass protests.

The transitional government in place since August 2019 is trying to end Sudan's international isolation and revive its crisis-stricken economy.