Sudanese Military Approves Russian Naval Base on the Red Sea
Following negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov late last week, Sudan’s ruling military has finalized the terms of an agreement with Russia to construct a naval base on the African country’s Red Sea coast. In exchange, Moscow will provide weapons and military equipment to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).
Lavrov, one of the most trusted officials in Putin’s inner circle, met with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, the country’s initial post-coup interim military government, along with his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo on Thursday, February 9th, to discuss the deal, The Sudan Tribune reports.
The agreement, set to last for 25 years, with automatic 10-year extensions so long as each side approves, was announced at a joint press conference between Lavrov and Sudan’s foreign minister Ali al-Sadiq Ali.
“They cleared all our concerns. The deal has become OK from the military side,” one Sudanese military official told the Associated Press.
The Russian foreign minister, before departing from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, on Thursday told the press that the deal—which was agreed upon during the rule of former President Omer al-Bashir—still needs the final approval of the Sudanese parliament, which has yet to be formed.
Sudan has been without a legislative body since 2019, following a popular uprising that ultimately culminated in longtime autocrat Omar al Bashir, who ruled from 1989 to 2019, being overthrown by the military.
The planned naval base, to be situated in strategic Port Sudan on the Red Sea, is set to host some 300 Russian soldiers and four naval vessels, including nuclear-powered ones.
Viktor Bondarev, the Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces and former Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force branch of the Aerospace Forces, says the new military base will guarantee the Russian navy’s permanent presence in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and added that it will save its vessels from carrying out long voyages to reach to the area.
Once completed, the new naval base will help reinforce and extend the power projection provided by Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria.
Some countries in the region, including U.S.-aligned Saudi Arabia and Egypt, allegedly attempted to dissuade the Sudanese military chief from going through with the deal.