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Hemeti charts official Sudan policy on Russia-Ukraine conflict

March 3 - 2022 KHARTOUM
The Sudanese Naval Forces received a Russian frigate which docked in Port Sudan in March 2021 (SUNA)
The Sudanese Naval Forces received a Russian frigate which docked in Port Sudan in March 2021 (SUNA)

Deputy Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti' Dagalo, called on the international community to support the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. This is the official position of the Sovereignty Council, he said in a statement to the Russian news channel Sputnik yesterday.

Yesterday's statement followed Hemeti’s statements last week during his Moscow visit, where he declared support for Russia’s invasion by saying that Russia had a right to defend itself and its people.

Observers consider yesterday’s statement as a retreat from his first position following calls from Western ambassadors and diplomats in Khartoum, who called on Sudan to “condemn the violations of the Russian Federation in clear terms”.

According to political analyst Magdi El Gizouli the visit to Russia was arranged by the Russian “Wagner mercenaries in order to find a way out for their ally in Sudan, and to ensure his continuation in power so that they can continue to plunder the country’s resources”.

Hemeti also said that Sudan would let Russia, or any other country open a naval base on the 730-km Red Sea coast, given that it would not threaten Sudan’s national security. An agreement on hosting Russia’s naval base was reached in 2019 with ousted President Omar Al Bashir which still remains under review. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, published a decree in November 2020 saying he had approved a Russian government proposal to set up a naval logistics hub in Sudan.

He said in a press conference at Khartoum International Airport on his return from Moscow last week, that the Russian Business Council have expressed their willingness to invest in Sudan. During the visit to Moscow Hemeti was accompanied by the Sudanese Finance Minister, Jibril Ibrahim, where they agreed with their Russian counterparts to bolster Sudan’s economy and pave the way for investment in Sudan.

Hemeti on his return to Lhartoum (SUNA)

Hemeti also stated in the press conference that he met with the Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, Maj Gen Abbas Kamil, during his stop at Cairo Airport to refuel. He said they discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), along with other issues, and affirmed that Egypt stands with Sudan’s national interests.

In the press conference, Hemeti called on the Sudanese people to put a stop to the demonstrations, saying that, “people are suffering, embassies abroad have not received their budget for 18 months, and the country has been without a Prime Minster for four months”.

He also stated that Sudan needed a solution through honest mediators who do not hold an agenda, and that the military would not reject the dialogue needed to ensure Sudan’s future.

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