- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2020

About a month after the U.S. government announced plans to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, Russian officials said they will build a new naval base in the country to support its ships operating in northeast Africa.

According to a draft agreement, the deal will allow up to 300 personnel and four Russian naval vessels to remain in the naval base, which will be controlled by Moscow.

Sudan’s government in Khartoum will provide the land and any needed infrastructure free of charge. According to the Financial Times newspaper, Sudan will grant Russia the land for 25 years with an option for extensions every decade. The deal will allow Russia to Import any weapons or ammo needed for the safe operation of the base.

The base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast will be Russia’s first in Africa and second foreign base after its facility in Tartus, Syria. That Soviet-era logistics base was transformed into a full-time center after Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war.

Last year, Russia hosted almost 50 African government leaders in a summit offered to help “push back” against any attempts by western governments to “pressure or blackmail” African nations. The summit also resulted in ramped-up sales of military technology to them.

The move to set up a base in Africa means “Russia is returning to the world ocean,” said Russian defense analyst Dmitry Litovkin.

“Now our sailors of the Northern and Baltic fleets will not have to make grueling crossings in order to spend several months in the Indian Ocean,” Mr. Litovkin said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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