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North Africa Politics

Sudan Welcomes Israeli Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen, in a Historic First Visit

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The Israeli intelligence minister, Eli Cohen, has visited Sudan to discuss implementing last year’s bilateral agreement to normalise ties.

Cohen has become the first Israeli cabinet minister to visit Sudan.

An Israeli spokesperson said Cohen and the Sudanese defence minister, Lt Gen Yassin Ibrahim, signed a memorandum on diplomatic, security and economic issues.

Cohen led a delegation from his ministry and from the National Security Council. He also held talks with senior Sudanese officials, including Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council.

He also invited Sudanese leaders to visit Israel.

In a statement after his return to Israel, Cohen said he was confident his discussions had laid the foundation for bilateral co-operation and stability in the region.

His return to Israel was just in time before a week-long shutdown of the airport as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus variants into Israel.

Sudan earlier this month signed the “Abraham Accords” with the United States, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel.

The ‘Abraham Accords’ did not officially establish diplomatic ties between Khartoum and Jerusalem, a move that is expected to happen in the near future, at a yet-undetermined date.

Recent U.S.-negotiated deals between Arab and Muslim countries and Israel have been a major foreign policy achievement by former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

The deals were named the Abraham Accords after the biblical patriarch revered by Muslims and Jews.

Sudan’s economy has suffered from decades of U.S. sanctions and mismanagement under al-Bashir, who had ruled the country since a 1989 terror-backed military coup.

The sanctions date back to the 1990s, when Sudan briefly hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other wanted terrorists. Sudan was also believed to have served as a pipeline for Iran to supply weapons to Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

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North Africa Politics

Libya Minister Survives Assassination Attempt

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Fathi Ali Abdul Salam Bashagha, the  Minister of Interior of Libya’s UN-backed government, on Sunday survived an assassination attempt by gunmen in the west of the capital Tripoli.

Mr. Bashagha had finished a meeting on Sunday with the chairman of the National Oil Corporation and was returning to Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), when his convoy came under attack.

“At 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), an assassination attempt targeted Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha as he was returning from his residence in Janzour district (western Tripoli),” the Interior Ministry said in a statement. “An armoured Toyota opened fire on the minister’s motorcade using machine guns.

“Bashagha’s security guards fired back at the gunmen, killing a gunman and capturing two others, while one guard was injured”, the ministry added.

The ministry confirmed that all necessary legal measures regarding the attempted assassination have been taken.

Libya has been suffering insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

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Family Rejects France’s Plan to Build Statue in Algeria’s Emir AbdelKader’s Honour

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The family of Abdelkader ibn Muhieddine, known as the Emir Abdelkader or Abdelkader El Hassani El Djazairi, has rejected the plan to build a statue in his honour in France.

Emir Abdelkader (1808-1883) was an Algerian religious and military leader who led a struggle against the French colonial invasion in the mid-19th century.

According to Abdelkader’s grandson, Mohamed Boutaleb, the family rejected “the construction of a statue of the Emir in France, where he was imprisoned and held hostage.”

French historian Benjamin Stora had submitted a report on the memory of colonization and Algerian war to President Emmanuel Macron on January 20. In the report, Stora recommended building a statue of AbdelKader.

Boutaleb said the proposed statue was in France’s interest not Algeria’s, adding that the family has prepared “an electronic petition to collect signatures to reject the proposal contained in the French report.”

He said the name of the Algerian Emir is known internationally and his political and resistant standing does not need a statue in France, which occupied his country for 132 years.

While France claims that Emir Abdelkader came to it for the sake of tourism, the historic truth is that he was subjected to imprisonment, hostage detention and assassination attempts with other prisoners in France.

Boutaleb called on Algerian authorities to intervene and stop what he called a “French maneuver” to falsify the history of one of the most prominent symbols of the Algerian resistance.

Abdelkader – a writer, poet, philosopher, politician and fighter against French colonial forces – was imprisoned in France in 1847 where he remained until 1852.

After his freedom, he settled in Istanbul until his death in 1883 at the age of 76.

In 1965, his body was transferred to Algeria and buried in the capital, Algiers.

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Sudan’s PM, Hamdok, Names 7 Ex-Rebel Leaders in New Cabinet

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Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, has announced seven former rebel leaders who were part of a peace deal signed in October 2020 in his new cabinet.

Veteran rebel leader and economist Gibril Ibrahim, of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) — which played a major role in the Darfur conflict — was appointed as Sudan’s new finance minister.

Hamdok had, on Sunday, dissolved the previous cabinet to form a more inclusive government.

Two ministers were selected from the military. Many are from the Forces for Freedom and Change which led the protests that saw Omar al-Bashir ousted from power.

The Prime Minister gave the role of finance minister to the veteran rebel leader and economist Gibril Ibrahim. This at a time of sky high inflation, food and fuel shortages.

Being Sudan’s Foreign Minister will also be a major test. That job has gone to Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi – the daughter of Sudan’s last democratically elected Prime Minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi.

There are still military men in Hamdok’s cabinet – a reminder of the awkward marriage between soldiers and civilians as Sudan continues its planned transition to democracy.

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