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Sudan suspends Red Sea Russian naval facility

Russian Navy frigate RFS Admiral Grigorovich entres in Port Sudan on 28 February 2021 (Screenshot from a Video by Ruptly TV)
April 28, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan has suspended an agreement with Russia providing to establish a military base on the Red Sea, until its approval by the Transitional Legislative Council.

However, the Russian embassy in Khartoum said they "did not receive any notifications from the Sudanese side".

Press reports revealed that the Sudanese government instructed the commander of the Sudanese Red Sea Region to prevent Russian ships from entering the Flamingo military base of the Sudanese army.

Several Russian military ships arrived during the past days to establish a naval supply station agreed with the former regime after a meeting between the ousted Omer al-Bashir and President Vladimir Putin in 2017.

In November 2020, President Putin approved the agreement to establish a naval facility hosting 300 Russian troops and four ships.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Russian military ships started to bring equipment and radars to build the agreed navy facility.

Senior military sources in the Sovereign Council told the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the commander of the Red Sea military region informed the Russian officials about the suspensions of the deal and ordered to stop the deployment.

"The army informed the Russians that any agreement to establish foreign military bases in Sudan will not take effect until its approval by the Legislative Council," said the Saudi funded newspaper.

"Accordingly, it was decided to suspend any agreements on military bases signed during the rule of ousted President Omer al-Bashir," further added the sources.

The Russian news agency Tass reported the suspension of the agreement on Wednesday, attributing it to the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, a ban Arab news channel based in Dubai.

The 25-year agreement for the establishment of a Russian military facility on the Red Sea raised concerns in several countries of the region.

In January 2020, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting for the countries bordering the Red Sea. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to establish a security and economic alliance.

Also, several U.S. military ships visited Port Sudan since last year.

Observers in Khartoum say the approval of such an agreement by the under-formation transitional parliament is very hazardous.

The Russian embassy in Khartoum issued a statement on Thursday morning saying they have not been yet officially informed by the Sudanese government about the suspension of the deal.

"We emphasize that this agreement comes into force only after its ratification by both parties," further stressed the statement.

"Since this has not happened yet, all other allegations are from evil and aim to damage traditionally friendly relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Sudan," added the statement.

(ST)