United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo visited Sudan on Tuesday to push for normalising ties with Israel. However, Sudan’s transitional government said it does not have a mandate to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

“The transitional phase in Sudan is led by a broad coalition with a specific agenda: to complete the transition process and achieve peace and stability in the country, leading to free elections. The transitional government does not have a mandate beyond these tasks to decide on normalization with Israel. This matter will be decided upon after the duties of the transitional government are completed”, Sudan’s prime minister Abdullah Hamdok said in a statement.

After the popular uprising led the military to overthrow autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019, Sudan is now ruled by a military-civilian government, with elections possible in late 2022.

Pomeo’s visit comes less than two weeks after Israel and the United Arab Emirates said they would normalise ties in a US-backed deal. The US State Department said in a statement that Pompeo and Hamdok discussed “positive developments in the Sudan-Israel relationship”.

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