Russia To Begin Naval Operations At Port Sudan

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By Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

North African base will provide military support for BRI shipping along the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean 

Sudan will shortly ratify an agreement with Russia on the establishment of a Russian Navy base on its territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the talks with his Sudanese counterpart Mariam al-Mahdi on Monday, with the Russian State Duma also preparing the same. The procedure is being carried out in accordance with procedures that exist in the Sudanese parliament. Lavrov said. The facility is to be located at Port Sudan, on Sudan’s Red Sea coast.

The base will be used for repairs and the resupply of Russian military ships, as well as for crew rest. On June 1, Sudan announced its review of the agreement, “in order to take Sudanese interests and profit into account.” On June 10, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that the text of the agreement may change, but Moscow has confirmed its interest in cooperation with Sudan.

Port Sudan is a city, and is Sudan’s largest seaport, with modern container port facilities to handle imports and exports. It is part of the Maritime Silk Road that runs from the Chinese coast via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, there to the Upper Adriatic region of Trieste with its rail connections to Central and Eastern Europe. The city has an international airport, and highway and rail connecting Port Sudan to the capital city, Khartoum via Atbara. There are ferry links through to Jeddah, while an oil pipeline terminates at Port Sudan from Sudanese oil wells. An oil refinery is also sited at Port Sudan, while the seaport handles most of the country’s international trade. Major exports include oilseed, senna, and hides and skins. Imports include construction materials, heavy machinery, and vehicles.

China is a major client state of Sudan, purchasing about US$1.8 billion of mainly energy products from Sudan, and exporting about US$740 million of mainly consumer goods back to the country. Russia is the second largest client states after China, purchasing some US$1.6 billion of oil related products from the country.

The base will be used to protect shipping along Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean, a route that bypasses dangerous coastlines with Somalia, known for piratical attacking and hijacking of commercial vessels.

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