Russia close to securing 25-year deal to establish Port Sudan naval base

By bne IntelliNews June 5, 2024

Russian hopes to construct a naval base in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coastline have advanced with high-level officials meeting for bilateral talks to discuss the project. 

According to Al Sharq, the countries are getting close to signing a 25-year agreement on military cooperation and Port Sudan access. 

The details of the proposed deal have not been revealed, but the media outlet writes it includes the deployment of a maximum of 300 Russian personnel and four ships to be stationed there. 

"This is a logistical support point on the Red Sea, and it has been signed between the two countries... We are currently reviewing the matter within the framework of our bilateral relations, which I believe are developing positively. We hope to strengthen these ties further," Sudan’s ambassador to Russia, Mohamed Siraj, is quoted as saying. 

Sudanese general Yasser al-Atta announced that Moscow requested a fuelling station in exchange for weapons and ammunition. 

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Sudan in February in an attempt to improve Moscow’s international relations following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He renewed talks to allow Russia to have a logistical naval base on the Red Sea to control strategic shipping lanes, a deal that was initially made in 2018 with the ousted dictator, Omar Al Bashir.

In July 2022, the US media accused Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group of plundering gold in Sudan to boost Russian President Vladimir Putin's war effort in Ukraine and of escaping Western sanctions with the complicity of Sudanese military rulers. Reports suggested that Russia had colluded with Sudan’s beleaguered military leadership, enabling billions of dollars in gold to bypass the Sudanese. 

The Red Sea coast in Sudan has been a competitive ground for influence and control. Sudan has been embroiled in a war between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since mid-April. 

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