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Israel and Sudan Close to Peace Deal, Officials Say

FILE - People protest Sudanese President of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan's decision to meet Israel's prime minister last week in a move toward normalizing relations, in Khartoum, Sudan, Feb. 7, 2020.

Israel and Sudan said Tuesday they are close to reaching a peace agreement, just days after Israel concluded a historic agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

A Sudanese Foreign Ministry official said that the government is “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement with Israel,” the Associated Press reported.

Sky News Arabia quoted Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Haidar Badawi Sadiq as saying Tuesday, "There is no reason to continue hostility between Sudan and Israel.”

“We do not deny there are communications” between the countries, he added.

The spokesman echoed this in a phone call with Reuters, telling the news agency Tuesday, “I cannot deny that there are contacts between Sudan and Israel.”

In response to the news, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter he would “do everything necessary” to reach a deal.

In February, Israel and Sudan agreed to move forward with talks on normalizing their relationship in a two-hour meeting between Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads Sudan’s transitional sovereign council.

Netanyahu’s spokesperson to Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, called Al-Burhan’s “decision … to work toward advancing relations” with Israel “brave.”

Last week, the UAE became just the third Arab country to establish formal diplomatic ties with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. It’s the first nation to do so in the past 26 years.

“Israel, Sudan and the entire region will benefit from the peace agreement (with the UAE) and will be able to build a better future together for all people in the region,” Netanyahu wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

Though the UAE is a major player in the Middle East, Sudan may have a more contentious history with Israel. Arab states gathered in Sudan in 1967 to issue what are known as the “three no’s”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with it.

Israel’s intelligence minister said Sunday that alongside Sudan, Bahrain and Oman could be the next countries to follow the UAE in formalizing their relationships with Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said the U.S.-brokered deal with the UAE was a “huge mistake,” the AP reported. Israel, the UAE and other nations in the region consider Iran a common enemy.

Leslie Bonilla contributed to this report.