US, Russia warships dock in strategic Sudan port
The arrival of the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill to Port Sudan follows Washington's delisting of Khartoum as state sponsors of terrorism, following the April 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir.
An expeditionary fast transport ship, the USNS Carson City, had already docked in the port on February 24, the "first US navy ship to visit Sudan in decades", the US embassy in Khartoum said in a statement at the time.
The Admiral Grigorovich frigate would refuel and its crew rest after exercises in the Indian Ocean off Pakistan, the navy added.
Peace and stability
Sudan's military said the Admiral Grigorovich's visit was "part of advancing diplomatic relations" between the two countries, according to a statement late Sunday.
The purpose of the base will be to "uphold peace and stability in the region", according to the deal.
Russia's navy will be allowed to keep up to four ships at a time at the base including nuclear-powered vessels. The base will be manned by up to 300 military and civilian personnel.
Russia will have the right to transport via Sudan's airports and ports "weapons, ammunition and equipment" needed for the naval base to function.
The Red Sea naval base will be Russia's first in Africa and only its second on foreign soil, after Tartous in Syria.
The US has its only permanent base in Africa in the port of Djibouti, 1,000 kilometres (625 miles) to the south, which overlooks the narrow strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden -- a chokepoint for world shipping.
After Bashir was toppled, Sudan is led by an civilian-majority administration which has been seeking reintegration in the international community and to ending decades of pariah status.
In December, Washington removed Khartoum from its blacklist as part of a deal for Sudan to agree to normalise ties with Israel.