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Israel hails first official visit to Sudan as relations begin | Politics News



In Khartoum, Israeli and Sudanese officials discuss diplomatic, security and economic issues after launching ties.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen led a delegation to Khartoum months after Sudan agreed to normalise relations.

Monday’s visit marked the first time an Israeli minister headed an official delegation to the North African state, Cohen’s office said on Tuesday.

Sudanese state media did not report the trip.

Israel’s intelligence ministry said in a statement that members of the delegation met the head of state, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Defence Minister Yassin Ibrahim for talks on “diplomatic, security and economic issues”.

“A first-ever memorandum on these topics was signed between the Sudanese defence minister and Cohen,” it said.

The sides also discussed “deepening intelligence cooperation”.

“The Sudanese authorities briefed the Israeli delegation on their progress on cancelling the law boycotting Israel, and amending the law imprisoning Sudanese migrants, including to Israel, who return to Sudan,” the ministry added.

The statement also said it was agreed that a Sudanese delegation will travel to Israel, but did not mention when.

Sudan agreed to normalise ties with Israel in October last year and an Israeli delegation visited Khartoum the following month.

Protests against normalisation

On January 6, Sudan signed the “Abraham Accords” normalising ties with Israel, making it the third Arab country to do so after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year.

Morocco also normalised its ties with Israel in December.

Khartoum signed the accords less than a month after Washington removed it from its “state sponsors of terrorism” blacklist as part of a quid pro quo.

But protests against normalisation have continued in Sudan. On January 17, dozens of protesters gathered outside the cabinet office in Khartoum and burned the Israeli flag.

Until last year, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries to have recognised Israel, in bilateral peace deals struck decades ago.

Other Arab governments refused to normalise relations until Israel reached a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians and its other neighbours.

Cohen said his visit to Khartoum “laid the foundations for many important collaborations that will help Israel and Sudan, boost regional stability, deepen our ties with Africa and lead to more agreements with states in the region”.

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Lebanon: Protests continue over political, economic crises | Business and Economy News



Roads across Lebanon blocked as protesters come out for the seventh consecutive day.

Protesters have blocked roads with burning tyres all over Lebanon for the seventh consecutive day, demanding an end to the economic crisis that has prevailed for more than a year and a half of political paralysis.

Three main roads leading south into the capital Beirut from Zouk, Jal al-Dib and al-Dawra were blocked on Monday while, in Beirut itself, protesters briefly blocked the road in front of the central bank.

“We have said several times that there will be an escalation because the state isn’t doing anything,” said Pascale Nohra, a protester in Jal al-Dib.

In Tyre, a man tried to burn himself by pouring petrol on his body but civil defence stopped him in time, the state news agency said.

Lebanon’s financial crisis, which erupted in 2019, has driven nearly half of the population of six million into poverty, wiped out jobs and savings and slashed consumer purchasing power.

Protesters have been blocking roads daily since the collapse of the Lebanese pound, which fell to 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, slashed about 85 percent of its value in a country relying heavily on imports.

It was the last straw for many who have seen prices of consumer goods nearly triple since the crisis erupted.

Demonstrators block a main road in al-Dawra [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

The country has been rudderless since August last year when caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet resigned on the back of the Beirut port explosion that devastated swaths of the capital.

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri was nominated in October but has failed to form a new cabinet due to the political deadlock with President Michel Aoun.

A new cabinet is necessary to implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix the economy.

The last straw

On Saturday, Diab threatened to quit to raise the pressure on those blocking the formation of a new government.

State news agency reported that Diab is scheduled to meet Aoun, several caretaker ministers, the central bank chief and financial and security officials on Monday.

Demonstrators stand on a bridge in Jal el-Dib [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

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