Russia and the United States are now sorting out relations in Sudan, where Moscow intends to build a new naval base.
The new base will appear on the shores of the Red Sea, in Port Sudan. Russia signed a relevant agreement with Khartoum (the capital of Sudan) in late 2020. Nevertheless, the United States, of course, shares its own opinion on the situation.
According to the Al-Arab website and the Sudanese press, the African Command of the US Armed Forces (AFRICOM, headquartered in Germany) has been forcing Sudan to abandon agreements with the Russian Federation and cooperate with the Pentagon for two months already.
Tellingly, the USNS Carson City expeditionary transport ship with US Marines on board arrived in Port Sudan a few days ago. This is the first time since AFRICOM was founded in 2008.
It was reported that the US Navy ship arrived in Port Sudan as part of certain military agreements Khartoum and Washington.
This is some extraordinary news just because the US excluded Sudan from the list of terrorist sponsors in December 2020.
It just so happens that the Americans were not interested in this African country for more than 20 years, had no military contacts with Khartoum, let alone cooperation. At the same time, the Americans imposed a bunch of sanctions on Sudan that literally obstructed the country from developing.
Nevertheless, on January 6, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Khartoum, which became quite a manifestation of the level of claims. The Americans managed to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, the Defense Minister and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Sudan.
After visits of this level, reports began to appear in the media about military agreements signed with the Americans. The Sudanese authorities neither confirmed nor denied those reports. Still, General Abdel Fattah al-Burkhan demonstrates his readiness for dialogue with the West.
The subject of the talks was about the sanctions. During Mike Pompeo's previous visit to Sudan, the United States promised to help the country's development financially and urged Sudan to make peace with Israel.
As a result, the sanctions were lifted, and on January 6, 2021, like some other Arab countries, Sudan signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel.
The Americans also allegedly helped Sudan "settle Khartoum's debts to the World Bank." So far, the country has seen no active investment in its economy.
Many experts say directly that the recent activity of the Americans in Sudan is connected with the decision of Russia to build its own naval base there.
As long as Russia remains one of the main enemies for the United States not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East and Africa, Sudan did not escape pressure. In addition, the United States has its own interests in the Red Sea region. Almost a tenth of all world sea freight is transported through the Suez Canal, so the interests of the United States are becoming too obvious, said military expert Colonel Nikolai Shulgin. According to him, Sudan's former leader Omar al-Bashir considered this region "the keys to Africa" and persistently asked Russia to establish and consolidate its presence there.
It is worth adding that in the area of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is the shortest route from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, is already "occupied" by the following states:
Tellingly, the Americans appeared in Sudan even before Russia started doing something there. Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov recently announced that the terms for the construction of the naval base in Sudan had not been determined yet. If Russia continues to sit on its hands, her "Western partners" will build their own full-fledged base in Sudan first.