Sudan’s cabinet votes to repeal Israel boycott law

Sudanese cabinet votes to repeal a 1958 law that forbade diplomatic and business relations with Israel.

Sudan and Israel flags
Sudan agreed to normalise ties with Israel in October 2020 [File: Jack Guez and Ashraf Shazly/AFP]

Sudan’s cabinet has approved a bill abolishing a 1958 law on boycotting Israel in the latest development in relations between the two sides.

The move still needs the approval of a joint meeting of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and cabinet, which serves as Sudan’s interim legislative body, to come into effect, the cabinet said.

While Sudan’s civilian authorities have maintained that the decision to initiate relations with Israel would be left to the yet-to-be-formed transitional parliament, Tuesday’s vote is seen as a step that could pave the way for official visits and further diplomatic ties.

“The council of ministers approved a bill repealing the 1958 boycott of Israel law,” the cabinet said in a statement.

The statement also emphasised “Sudan’s firm position on the establishment of a Palestinian state within the framework of a two-state solution”.

The 1958 law was in line with the policies of Arab nations at the time towards Israel.

Penalties for those who violated its stipulations, such as trading with Israelis, included up to 10 years in jail and a hefty fine. But the political landscape has changed as Sudan, along with Gulf countries and Morocco, have built bridges with Israel in deals mediated by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

Sudan agreed to normalise ties with Israel in October last year, in a quid pro quo for Washington removing the country from its “state sponsors of terrorism” blacklist months later.

Khartoum maintained a rigid anti-Israel stance during the three-decade rule of former President Omar al-Bashir, who was removed amid mass protests in April 2019.

A post-al-Bashir transitional government has been pushing for reintegration with the international community and to rebuild the country’s economy after decades of US sanctions and internal conflict.

The bill will be presented for final approval from the country’s ruling Sovereign Council, made up of military and civilian figures, before it is passed into law.

Normalisation with Israel is seen in Sudan as an initiative led by the military, which has welcomed visits by Israeli officials in recent months.

One of those officials, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, welcomed Khartoum’s move.

“This is an important and necessary step toward the signing of a peace accord between the countries,” Cohen said in a statement, which did not expand on when such an event might take place.

Source: News Agencies