Pompeo leaves Israel on historic direct flight to Sudan

AFP , Tuesday 25 Aug 2020

Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a joint statement to the press with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (unseen) after meeting in Jerusalem, on August 24, 2020 AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday left Israel for Sudan, the next stop on his regional tour, on the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.

Video released by the US embassy in Jerusalem showed an official greeting Pompeo as he walked onto the plane, saying "You are now on a historic flight," and the top US diplomat nodding in agreement.

Israel and Sudan do not have diplomatic relations and, barring a last-minute route change, it would be the first such non-stop flight, US officials said.

Israel has regular commercial flights to Egypt, Sudan's northern neighbour, with which it signed a peace agreement in 1979.

Pompeo's trip, also taking in Bahrain and the UAE, comes in the wake of the August 13 announcement of a US-brokered normalisation of relations between the Emirates and the Jewish state.

Speaking in Jerusalem on Monday, both Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that they were hopeful that other Arab states would follow suit.

The deal with the UAE is not strictly-speaking a peace deal as the two states have never been at war.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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