Israel announced that its commercial aircraft began to fly through Sudanese airspace under an agreement with the government in Khartoum.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a meeting with a group of American Jewish leaders on Sunday that an Israeli plane crossed the Sudanese airspace on Saturday heading to South America.
Netanyahu pointed out that the flight of Israeli aircraft in the airspace of Sudan was the result of important discussions during his meeting with the President of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, earlier this month.
The Israeli Prime Minister added that the new air corridor reduced the flight time from Israel to South America by about three hours.
He went on to say, “We are now looking to quickly normalize” the relations between the two countries.
Sudan announced on February 5 that it agreed in principle to Israeli warplanes flying over its airspace two days after the proof meeting with Netanyahu in Uganda.
However, the Sudanese government did not address the issue of normalizing relations with Israel.
Israel has long considered Sudan a security threat, as it suspected Iran of using Sudanese territory to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
In 2009, reports spoke of an Israeli aircraft bombing an arms convoy inside Sudan.
The normalization of relations with Sudan, the country in which Arab leaders met in 1967 and issued a statement of “The Three Noes” (no peace, no recognition, no negotiation with Israel), would allow Netanyahu to strengthen his position and diplomatic credibility before the Israeli elections scheduled for March 2.
The announcement of allowing Israeli aircraft to fly in Sudan’s airspace is the most prominent development in the relations between the two sides since Netanyahu met with Al-Burhan.
Israeli commentators speculated that new contacts with Khartoum could allow Israel to return illegal Sudanese migrants, and in return, Israel could play a role in persuading the United States to improve relations with Khartoum and lift sanctions against it.