SUDAN is reviewing an agreement to host a Russian naval base on its Red Sea coast, which was reached under former President Omar al-Bashir who was toppled in 2019, the Sudanese military chief of staff said yesterday.
Chief of Staff Mohamed Othman al-Hussein told Sudan’s Blue Nile TV that the transitional authorities now have “the freedom to review the agreement to meet the interests of the country.”
“If the agreement achieves gains for us and meets Russia’s interests, there’s no problem.”
Sudan has been improving its ties with the United States since Bashir was toppled by the military after 30 years in power, following widespread demonstrations against his rule. Sudan is now run by a technocratic government and council of civilian and military figures due to cede power by the end of 2023.
Last year Washington appointed its first ambassador in Khartoum for decades and removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. As part of the thaw, Sudan has agreed to normalise diplomatic relations with U.S. ally Israel.
Moscow has long sought warm water ports for its navy. President Vladimir Putin published a decree in November saying he had approved a Russian government proposal to set up a naval logistics hub in Sudan.
Hussein noted that the deal for a Russian base had not been presented to a yet-to-be-formed legislative council that will act as a parliament during the political transition in Sudan.
The Kremlin said it had seen Hussein’s comments, and that Moscow was in regular contact with Sudan and hoped it could resolve the situation.
Senior Russian foreign ministry official Mikhail Bogdanov suggested additional talks to clarify the situation, and said Russia would be happy to clarify anything on its side, the Interfax news agency reported.