‘Unjustified interference by Western countries’

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sudan He denied the presence of fighters belonging to the Russian paramilitary Wagner militia in the country, in response to accusations made yesterday by the so-called countries. troika (United States, United Kingdom and Norway) under which the group carries out propaganda activities and “other illegal activities related to gold mining”. In a note published today, the State Department Khartoum Western diplomats were accused of trying to interfere in Sudanese affairs and “arbitrarily” drag the country into the Ukraine conflict. The (Troika) claimed that the Russian security company Wagner It is in Sudan and allegedly conducts training, mining and other illegal activities which the Government of Sudan completely denies.” In a joint statement issued marking the first month of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the British ambassador said Giles LiverNorwegian Therese Loken Ghazel The American Chargé d’Affairs Lucy Tamlin She publicly attacked the Wagner Group, accusing it of close cooperation with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary militia led by the vice president of Sudan’s Sovereign Council. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo The pseudonym “Hemedti”, who recently paid a visit to Moscow simultaneously with the start of the Russian offensive on Ukraine.

The Wagner Group accuses the troika of being involved in illegal gold mining in Sudan and in anti-democracy propaganda. “In Sudan, the Wagner Group (…) spreads misinformation on social media and engages in illegal activities related to gold mining,” the statement read. “The activities of the Wagner Group undermine the good governance and respect for the rule of law for which the Sudanese people have fought since the revolution,” Western diplomats add, without referring to their cooperation with the Rapid Support Forces. Although Moscow and Khartoum have not officially confirmed the presence of Wagner in Sudan, according to many observers, the group has proven its political, military and economic presence in Sudan for a long time during the presidency of Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in April 2019 in the wake of the Sudanese revolution. At that time, the mercenary group was engaged in military training of the special intervention units of the National Security and Intelligence Service, of which the Rapid Support Forces were part. After the revolution, and the ensuing dissolution of Lens, Wagner established his collaboration with the Rapid Support Forces, whose militias are largely made up of former Janjaweed fighters (literally “devils on horseback”), who are responsible for widespread human rights abuses committed during the conflict in Darfur.

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The group, also present in the Central African Republic and neighboring Mali, gradually became more involved in mining activities in Sudan, where it was officially deployed to guard the gold mines. In a report released this month, the foreign policy research institute – An American think tank based in Philadelphia – said that the purpose of Wagner’s presence in Sudan is to help Russia transform its relations with Sudan from “a reciprocal relationship based on arms sales to a more complete security partnership.” The transitional civilian government in Sudan, which was overthrown by the October 25 coup, opposed an agreement with the former Bashir regime to establish a Russian naval base in Port Sudan, but after the coup, the Sudanese military rulers pledged to reconsider this position. In this sense, Dagalo himself, upon his return from Khartoum after a six-day visit to Moscow that coincided with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, asserted at the beginning of March that the Sudanese authorities had no objection to the establishment. A Russian military base on the Red Sea if that is in the interest of Sudan.

Speaking to Sudanese media at the conclusion of his visit, Hemedti said Sudan – which on March 2 abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine – puts its interests first regarding the Russian base that should be built in the port. Sudan. We have 730 km along the Red Sea. The Sudan Tribune newspaper quoted Hemedti as saying that if a country wants to open a base and this is in our interest and does not threaten our national security, we have no problem in dealing with any Russian or non-Russian person. The decision on this matter rests with the Minister of Defense. So it is not my responsibility. But if there is any benefit from (building) the base, other than its commitment to social responsibility, for the people of eastern Sudan, we do not oppose its establishment,” stressing that during his stay in Moscow an agreement was reached with Russia. Officials should reactivate all bilateral agreements signed between the two countries. He added. “We have no problem if this (the base) does not threaten our national security.” Hemedti’s statements about the Russian naval base are the first clear support from the Sudanese army for the Russian Navy’s logistics support center to be built in Port Sudan. Previously, in fact, Sudanese officials repeatedly repeated The agreement is under review.

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The naval military base on the Red Sea is a critical hub for Russia’s expansion in Africa as Sudan provides direct access to the landlocked Central African Republic where Russian companies are engaged in diamond mining with a strong military presence. Wagner. In September 2018, Russia announced its intention to build a maritime logistics center in Eritrea, but the project faces strong regional opposition from the Gulf states. Moreover, in Sudan, the Gulf powers prefer that the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, abandon this agreement, arguing that the agreement endangers their security. Prior to the October 25 coup, the civilian government of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FCC) opposed the naval agreement with Russia and agreed with the military to postpone it until Parliament approved it. But the coup that authorized the expulsion from power. The civilian component in accelerating bilateral projects in the pipeline with Russia, including the project to build a military base.

The project, frozen until now, was first agreed upon in November 2017 on the occasion of ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Moscow with the aim of obtaining Russian protection to face “great pressures and conspiracies from the United States”. But after the fall of Al-Bashir, the document is no longer ratified as there is no legislative body in the country with these powers. Negotiations continued until December 2020, Russia and Sudan signed an agreement to establish a logistics center for the Russian fleet in Sudan. The concession of the area in which the center will be built, a full naval base, will be for a term of 25 years. Under the agreement, the facility will be used for repair, maintenance, refueling and short-term crew rest periods. In total, the base can accommodate up to 300 people. And the Russian base in Sudan, if it is actually built, will be the second abroad for Russia, after the Tartus base, in Syria.

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