Russia Plans To Open Naval Base In Sudan derailing Sudan, Israel Peace Deal

Russia plans to build a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast to resupply its fleet, according to a draft agreement with Khartoum signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The planned deal, published on the Russian government’s website on Wednesday, outlines a “logistical support centre” to be set up in Sudan where “repairs and resupply operations and rest for crew members” can take place.

Its capacity will be capped at 300 military and civilian personnel and four ships, including nuclear-powered vessels, the text added.

The base will stand on the northern outskirts of Port Sudan, according to coordinates named in the detailed document.

Russia will also gain the right to transport via Sudan’s ports and airports “weapons, ammunition and equipment” needed for the base to function.

According to the draft agreement, the facility “meets the goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region, is defensive and is not aimed against other countries”.

The Russian navy’s logistics is expected to embrace the coastal, water and mooring areas, according to a report by Russian state news agency TASS.

“The Sudanese side has the right to use the mooring area upon agreement with the authorised body of the Russian side,” the document reads.

Geopolitical Tensions

The deal is slated to stand for 25 years – as long as neither party objects to its renewal. So far, Russian authorities have not named a date for the accord to be signed with Khartoum.

Moscow has in recent years turned its eyes to Africa as it renews its geopolitical clout.

It has wooed Sudan with military and civilian nuclear cooperation, signing a deal between the countries’ armed forces in May 2019 set to last seven years.

In January last year, Russia acknowledged, as a political crisis reached its peak in Sudan, that its military advisers had already been on the ground “for some time” alongside forces loyal to the government.

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had asked President Vladimir Putin to “protect” his country from the US when he visited Russia in 2017.

Sudan, Israel Peace Deal Irked Russia

Sudan’s transitional government said the decision to normalize relations with Israel was a necessary move that will benefit the Sudanese people economically.

The normalization agreement which was brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump is the third such deal the president has mediated to establish relations between Israel and Arab countries after decades of hostility. Last month, the Jewish state signed normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain in a White House ceremony.

A special adviser to Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen echoed those comments, saying the deal will give Sudan access to advanced Israeli technologies in agriculture, medicine, and other fields.

Arye Shalicar, Special Advisor to the Minister of Intelligence, said Israeli and Sudanese officials and experts have been in negotiations for months to re-establish relations after several decades of belligerence.

“We believe it’s a win-win situation for both sides: Sudan is definitely a very big country strategically located in the heart of Africa, [and] is a relatively close neighborhood of Israel as well, just south of Egypt. So for us [it’s] a very important location or area that we would like to be friends with rather than enemies with,” Shalicar told VOA from Israel.

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