The Sudanese parliament said a draft military agreement signed between Sudan and Russia would pave the road for the latter to build a military base on the Red Sea coast in the future.
In an interview with Sputnik News Service, head of the parliamentary subcommittee on Defence, Security and Public Order, Al-Hadi Adam Musa, described the draft agreement between the two sides to facilitate entry of Russian and Sudanese warships to the ports of the two nations as a step forward towards establishing strategic relations.
He stressed that Sudan, like other countries in the region, has the right to allow the establishment of Russian military bases in its territory.
Musa pointed out that several countries in the region have allowed foreign countries to build military bases in their territories, saying however the Sudanese-Russian agreement has yet to reach that level.
Last Wednesday, Russia’s legal information portal website reported that the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev has approved a draft agreement with Sudan on facilitating the entry of warships to the ports of the two countries.
The draft agreement pertains to facilitating the entry procedures for warships to Russian and Sudanese ports but doesn’t provide for the building of a military base in Sudan.
According to the draft agreement, “the entry of warships shall be made after notification has been given not later than seven working days prior to the scheduled date of entry”.
The draft document stressed that “within the framework of the Agreement, no more than seven warships can be present simultaneously, in the territorial sea, inland waters and ports of the receiving State”.
During a visit to Moscow last year to attend the 2018 World Cup Final, the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both leaders pledged to promote military cooperation in the near future.
The two leaders last met in November 2017 in the Russian city of Sochi, with both expressing a desire to enhance military ties.
While in Russia in November 2017, al-Bashir offered to construct an airbase for Russia on the Red Sea coast and to re-equip the Sudanese army with the Russian weapons including SU-30 fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles.
Russia is seen as a major ally of the government of al-Bashir that faces isolation from the West. However, economic cooperation between the two countries has remained very low, with a trade balance that does not exceed $400 million.
© 2019 the Sudan Tribune (Roubaix, France)
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