Sudan has announced its intention to review the agreement with Russia on the construction of a naval base in the.

On June 1, the Chief of Staff of the armed forces of Sudan, Muhammad Osman al-Hussein n his interview that was broadcasted by the Blue Nile TV channel, announced that the agreement with Russia on the construction of the naval base would be reviewed because of some provisions of the document that could harm the security of the state.

“We’re in the process of renegotiating an agreement signed between the former government of Sudan and Russia regarding a Russian military project on the Sudanese Red Sea coast. The agreement can be continued if we find benefits and profits for our country,” Mohammed Usman al-Hussein was quoted as saying.

The agreement was signed under the former regime of Omar al-Bashir, but was not ratified by the State legislature, as it is required for approving international treaties.

“Therefore, while we are not legally bound, we have the opportunity to amend  the agreement on military cooperation with Russia in the Red Sea, taking into account the interests of Sudan.” – Mohammed Osman Al-Hussein reportedly said.

He stressed that the negotiations would give a positive result if the benefits of both sides were taken into account, without jeopardizing the security of the Sudan.

New Concern For Moscow: Sudan To Review Agreement On Construction Of Russian Naval Base

Gen. Mohammed Osman Al-Hussein. Illustrative image

In response, Moscow officials claimed that they were studying the decision of Sudan to review the agreement. This was stated by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on May 31.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the Kremlin had seen the news about Sudan’s decision and that it would “deal with this issue” through “constant contact” with Sudanese officials.

The Sudanese army chief of staff’s remarks follow Arab media reports in April that Sudan had frozen the naval base agreement. They turned out to be rumors, as Russia’s Embassy in Khartoum said at that time it had not been notified of such a decision.

The agreement on the establishment of a logistics center for the Russian Navy on the territory of Sudan was signed on July 23, 2019 in Khartoum and on December 1, 2020 in Moscow. The document defined the basic principles for the deployment of Russian military personnel, warships and other naval equipment in the city of Port Sudan.

According to the document, the maximum number of personnel of the naval station, whose work is carried out by the forces and means of the Russian side, will not exceed 300 people. No more than four Russian ships will be able to stay there at the same time.

The agreement says that the presence of a Russian naval point on the territory of Sudan meets the goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region, is defensive in nature and is not directed against other states.

“The fact that Sudan was excluded from the list of countries that support international terrorism opens up prospects for cooperation not only with Russia and China, but also with the United States” – Osman Al-Hussein believes.

At that same time, on December 14, 2020, the decision of the United States to remove Sudan from the list of states that, according to Washington, support international terrorist groups, has entered into force.

Washington’s decision came after Sudan had agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.

The head of US diplomacy also said that the decision “represents a fundamental change” in bilateral relations, and it is aimed at ” greater cooperation and support for the historic transition to democracy in Sudan.” In turn, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted that Washington was ready to assist the government of Sudan in paying the country’s debts to international financial institutions, as well as “support the efforts of Sudan aimed at partial debt cancellation in 2021.”

Today, it seems that Sudan is trying to straddle two worlds. However, such a policy has proven its inefficiency.