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Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen became the first Israeli government minister ever to visit Sudan on Monday.

Driving the news: Cohen met in Khartoum with the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, as well as Sudan's minister of defense and intelligence chief. The meeting comes three months after a U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and Sudan.

  • During the visit, Cohen and the Sudanese officials discussed plans to cancel a 1958 boycott law which bans Sudanese nationals from traveling to Israel, trading with Israel, or engaging in any contacts with Israeli entities.
  • Flashback: Secret meetings between Sudanese and Israeli ministers took place in the 1950's and the 1980's, as well as last year, but never in Sudan itself.

Background: Under the U.S.-Sudan-Israel deal, the Trump administration removed Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list and provided a large aid package.

  • The Trump administration wanted to organize a trilateral signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, but COVID-19 restrictions and tensions on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border made that impossible.
  • Instead, then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin traveled to Khartoum and signed the Abraham Accords declaration — the same declaration signed by the UAE and Bahrain as part of their deals with Israel — with the Sudanese minister of justice.

What’s next: The deputy commander of U.S. Africa Command will visit Khartoum on Tuesday and meet with Burhan and other senior official to discuss military and counterterrorism cooperation.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.