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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 16 mins ago - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.

Former Pentagon chief blames media "hysteria" for lack of troops on Jan. 6

Former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that he limited the deployment of National Guard troops at the Capitol ahead of Jan. 6 in part due to media "hysteria" about "the possibility of a military coup."

Why it matters: William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, previously testified that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.