Russia set to open naval base for nuclear warships in Sudan
Iran Press TV
Friday, 13 November 2020 6:53 AM
Russia has signed a draft deal to build a naval logistics base in Sudan, where it will station up to four nuclear warships on the Red Sea coast.
Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved the draft agreement on establishing a naval base in the Red Sea and will submit the proposal to President Vladimir Putin in due course.
"The project stems from a mutual desire of Moscow and Khartoum to strengthen and develop military cooperation to increase the defense capacity of both states,' Mishustin said in a statement.
"The presence of the Russian naval logistics base in Sudan, which is set for defense purposes, meets with goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region, and not to pose any threat to other countries."
Once endorsed, the agreement will allow Moscow to station up to four warships, including those with nuclear capabilities, and up to 300 service members in a Sudanese port at any one time.
It will also enable Moscow to use the Sudanese port for repairs and resupply.
The naval base will be constructed in the city of Port Sudan, which is Sudan's main international trade hub, and the largest city on the Red Sea coast.
"The Sudanese side has the right to use the mooring area upon agreement with the authorized body of the Russian side," said the draft text.
In return, the African county will receive weapons and military equipment free of charge to protect the base.
Under the deal, which will extend for 25 years, Sudan will also commit to develop and modernize the country's infrastructure in order to maintain and supply Russian warships and provide hospitality services for crew members.
In 2017, Russia signed an agreement with the then-President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir to speed up the modernization of Sudanese forces.
Last year, after a military coup ousted al-Bashir, a 7-year contract of military cooperation came into force.
The contract stipulates, in particular, "an exchange of opinions and information on military and political issues and the issues of strengthening mutual trust and international security.'
Sudan, Russia's second-largest weapons buyer in Africa, is pursuing a deeper partnership with Moscow as it became a Russia-friendly country years ago.
Russia has recently sought to help Sudan escape its isolation from the global economy caused by western sanctions.
Sudan was put on the so-called terrorism list of the United States in 1993 over allegations that Omar al-Bashir was supporting terrorism. Under al-Bashir, Sudan was a staunch foe of Israel.
Earlier this year, the US lifted many sanctions on Sudan and called on Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in establishing ties with Israel in return for Sudan's removal from the terror list.
Sudan, however, said it does not want to link its removal from a US "terrorism list" with the normalization of relations with Israel.
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