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US destroyer docks in Sudan for 1st time in 25 years, day after Russian ship arrives

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The US guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill arrived in Port Sudan on Monday for a scheduled visit, a day after a Russian frigate entered the Sudanese port.

The arrival of the American destroyer in Sudan marks increased bilateral military engagement after a thaw in diplomatic relations between the two countries. The USS Winston S. Churchill is the first US Navy ship to enter Sudan in over 25 years.

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“Together with Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government, we are striving to build a partnership between our two armed forces,” said Rear Adm. Michael Baze, director of maritime headquarters, Navy Africa, US Sixth Fleet.

“We look forward to fortifying our friendship through increased interactions at sea and ashore,” he added.

This visit will provide an opportunity for the Sudanese and US military leaders to engage in talks to further explore opportunities to work together and establish a basis for a relationship committed to security and stability in the region, the US Navy said in its statement.

The US removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and signed an agreement to provide Sudan with a $1 billion bridge loan to clear the $1.2 billion it owes the World Bank in arrears, after Khartoum signed the “Abraham Accords” to normalize ties with Israel.

Russia and Sudan

The US ship’s arrival in Port Sudan, a strategically important city on the Red Sea that serves as Sudan's main port, comes a day after the Russian warship, “Admiral Grigorovich” frigate, entered the Sudanese port where Moscow plans to build a naval base on the country’s Red Sea coast.

The Russian naval facility’s capacity will be capped at 300 military and civilian personnel and four ships, including nuclear-powered vessels, according to the details published on the Russian government's website.

Moscow has in recent years turned its eyes to Africa as it renews its geopolitical clout. Sudan has a strategic location bridging the Horn of Africa, the Gulf, and North Africa.

It has wooed Sudan with military and civilian nuclear cooperation, signing a deal between the countries' armed forces in May 2019 set to last seven years.

- With AFP

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