Sudan delegation attends St. Petersburg Economic Forum

Malik Agar meets Russian FA Minister Sergey Lavrov, June 29, 2023 (Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry)

Malik Agar, Vice President of the Sovereignty Council, arrived in Russia on Monday alongside a high-level delegation for the 27th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum , taking place from June 5-8. The delegation includes Foreign Minister Hussein Awad, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr Jibril Ibrahim, and Minister of Minerals Mohammed Bashir Abdallah.

In a tweet posted from his official X page, Agar states he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and deliver a message from Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council and commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

Sudan has strengthened diplomatic and economic ties with Russia, highlighted by the recent approval of Russia’s request for a naval base. Lt Gen Yasir El Atta confirmed the request, noting Russia’s offer to supply the SAF with weapons and ammunition, with agreements expected to be finalised by El Burhan.

Warm seaport 

The Russian government have been attempting to establish warm (ice-free as many Russian seaports are icebound in winter) seaports globally and specifically the Red Sea. In February 2023, Sudan via El Burhan was ready to offer a Red Sea port to Russia in exchange for arms and other considerations. However, when the war broke out in April 15 2023 between the SAF and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the deal was put on hold indefinitely.

The previous 2021 deal, allowed Russia to keep up to four navy ships in the Red Sea, including nuclear powered ones. The agreement can be automatically extended for 10-year periods if none of the parties objected.

Russian newspaper Pravda reported recently Russia may sign an agreement with the SAF for a weapons exchange to support a Russian logistics hub in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.