The U.S. State Department on Wednesday confirmed that U.S. officials are communicating with Israeli officials after reports that they were asked by America to intervene in convincing the Sudanese military to return Sudan back to the democratically elected civilian government after last month’s military coup.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price said “we have been in touch at very senior levels with very senior interlocutors throughout the region and beyond, and that includes with Israel,” leaving out specifics of the conversation. “But we have discussed this with virtually everyone with a stake in a democratic, stable, peaceful Sudan, and that is just about everyone in the region and many countries well beyond the region.”

According to Axios, Biden administration officials sought Israel’s assistance because the coup leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has a close relationship with Israeli officials and was a key proponent of normalizing relations between Sudan and Israel as part of the Abraham Accords.

In the past two years, Burhan and other Sudanese generals have also coordinated with members of the Israeli national security council and the Mossad.

Despite condemnation of the coup from the United States and other nations, Israel has so far withheld its opinion after the military deposed Sudan’s civilian government, put Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under house arrest and violently put down street protests.

A military delegation from Sudan visited Israel two weeks before the coup, holding talks with officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Mossad, but Israeli officials said they were not informed that a coup was being planned. A Mossad delegation visited the capital city of Khartoum earlier this week on what has been characterized as a fact-finding mission.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue of Sudan in a call last week with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who according to Axios, passed the message to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry.

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is expected to travel to Israel and Sudan in the coming days. Feltman has called for Hamdok’s release and for the civilian government to be restored.

On Wednesday, the State Department released a joint statement from what it called the “QUAD”—the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—calling for a full and immediate restoration of the civilian-led transitional government and institutions, lifting the state of emergency and the release of those detained after recent events.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and the United Kingdom also stress the importance of the commitment to the Constitutional Document and the Juba Peace Agreement as the foundation for further dialogue about how to restore and uphold a genuine civil-military partnership for the remainder of the transitional period, pending elections,” the release stated. “This will help ensure Sudan reaches political stability and economic recovery so that it is able to continue the transitional period with the support of Sudan’s friends and international partners.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen with-Sudans Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Jan. 27, 2021. Credit: Nerizuki via Wikimedia Commons.

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