SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

Russia clears final ‘military’ hurdle to set up a naval base on Red Sea

Authorising Russia to establish a navy base on the Red Sea coast of the African nation, Sudan’s ruling military on Saturday completed the final review of the agreement between the two countries.

The deal will now move ahead and be ratified, pending the formation of a civilian government and a legislative body. The African nation has been without a parliament since April 2019 when autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military.

The completion of the review comes days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in the capital city of Khartoum and met acting Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq.

Lavrov had said the deal still needed ratification by Sudan’s soon-to-be-formed legislative.

“They [Russians] cleared all our concerns. The deal has become OK from the military side,” a military official was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

The deal was first officially announced in December 2020, having been agreed upon in principle during al-Bashir’s reign. The agreement allows Kremlin to set up a 300-troop-strong naval base.
Additionally, the deal stated that Russia will be able to keep four navy ships that may include a few nuclear-powered ones at strategic Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

In exchange for Sudan’s permission to set up the base, Russia will provide Sudan with weapons and military equipment.

Read more: Russia to establish navy base in Sudan for at least 25 years

The agreement lasts for 25 years and could be automatically extended for 10-year periods if none of the parties objects to it.

The document states that the Russian navy base should help strengthen peace and stability in the region and isn’t directed against any third parties.

The western world, however, has been critical of the navy base. The analysts in their critical assessment have said that Russia is interested in developing its own power dynamic in the region rather than helping Sudan expand its economic power.

The base and its strategic importance will allow Moscow to ensure its presence in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. It will also help avoid Russian ships avoid the long voyages to reach the area.

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