Sudan Expects ‘Very Strong Launch’ of Interaction With Russia in Near Future: Ambassador to Moscow

Longread Russia and Sudan have enjoyed fruitful cooperation throughout the years. The countries further strengthened their relations through recent agreements on mineral exploration and academic cooperation, which promise mutual economic and educational benefits. Sudan and similar countries value equal partnerships, and clear Russian policies emphasizing mutual benefits and equal sovereignty are attractive, leading to an expected significant strengthening of Sudan’s relations with Russia soon, Mohammed Elghazali Eltigani Sirrag, Sudan’s Ambassador to Moscow, told the national media. This is happening as part of a broader trend toward multipolarity, the ambassador noted. “[New] international order is heading in the direction of multipolarity with decision-making centers from different international poles, thus providing a kind of what we can call “democracy of the international system” […] and we note that there are economic systems such as the BRICS system that have become very important and comparable to the G7,” Sirrag was quoted as saying. Talking about relationships between Russia and Sudan, the diplomat noted that the two nations have a lot in common, which allows them to build “strong and solid” relationships that benefit the people of both countries. Moreover, since the independence of Sudan in 1956, communication between the two states in all areas has never been interrupted, not even during the current crisis in Sudan. In particular, it is supported by the visits of the countries’ officials and the work of various joint committees. Such a history of relationships is an excellent basis for concluding various mutually beneficial agreements. Sudan and Russia recently signed an agreement for mineral exploration in Block “24” and a cooperation memorandum with Saint Petersburg State University. Important and productive meetings were held between the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and the Sudanese Minister of Minerals, promising positive outcomes soon, the speaker added. “During the coming period, we seek to attract large Russian companies, especially those that have experience in the field of work in Sudan, to contribute significantly to the reconstruction of Sudan after the war and to explore the possibility of their work in the safe areas currently, and in fact, we find a very great response from them,” he reportedly said. Furthermore, Sirrag addressed the creation of a Russian base in the Red Sea, which is mistakenly perceived by some as a military base, but in fact it is a material and logistical support point, underscored the official. “This logistics support point project can be read within the framework of the development of bilateral relations between the two countries […] and is not directed against any party, but within the framework of relations between the two countries,” he said, as cited by the media. At the end of the interview, the pressing issue of the conflict in Sudan and Russia’s position on this problem were discussed. Sirrag highlighted that, thanks to Russia’s backing in the UN Security Council, Sudan successfully navigated and avoided numerous challenges and draft resolutions that could have jeopardized the nation’s unity and sovereignty. Furthermore, in a recent meeting with the Director of the Department of International Organizations at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pyotr Ilyichev, Sirrag detailed how the militia targeted agricultural lands, confiscated equipment, terrorized citizens, and committed abuses against farmers, preventing them from harvesting. The parties also discussed Sudan’s efforts to facilitate humanitarian aid by opening crossings and airports. “It must be noted that humanitarian aid should not be used as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of countries clearly or to implement a special agenda,” the Sudanese diplomat emphasized. What is also important is that Russia explicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of Sudan’s current institutions, particularly the Sovereignty Council headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Moscow backs Sudan’s ongoing matters at the UN Security Council. “It is a clear message of solidarity with the Sudanese people and government and an affirmation of the friendly relations between the two countries. The fact is that the Russian government and its guidelines are just because they are based on the principle of sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, and building serious partnerships and mutual interests for the two countries,” he concluded.

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US Forces Completing Withdrawal From Niger’s Air Base 101 on Sunday, Defense Official Says

Earlier, the United States and Niger issued a joint statement making the announcement that American forces will leave the nation “no later” than September 15. In early June, the US already began this process. US forces will complete a withdrawal from Air Base 101 in Niger on Sunday, but several hundred other troops will remain at a second air base in the country through September, a US defense official told Sputnik on Friday. However, the official noted that a majority of some 500 US troops currently in Niger are stationed at Air Base 201 near the Nigerien city of Agadez. Those troops will remain in the country through September. “They will also close down 201 as well, but the priority was 101 in Niamey first, followed by 201. AB 201 withdrawal will be complete no later than 15 September,” the official said. On June 8, the United States and Niger announced the beginning of the withdrawal of American troops from the African country. An agreement on the withdrawal was reached in mid-May. In March, Niger terminated a military agreement with the United States, according to which an American UAV base had been established in the north of the African country. A Nigerien military spokesperson said the country’s transitional government, which took power in a coup in July 2023, made such a decistion because the agreement was imposed on the country and did not meet the interests of its people. At the end of 2023, there were about 1,100 US military personnel in Niger, most of them stationed at an air force base near Agadez. Interestingly, in mid-June, Honorary Consul of Russia in the African Republic Addo Iro told Russian media that his country is ready to host a full-fledged Russian military base on the territory of the country to help reduce the number of terrorist attacks in the nation.

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Humanitarian Truce Between Army and Rebels in Eastern DRC Reportedly Comes Into Force

The Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been suffering from insecurity caused by various rebel groups, most notably, the M23 group. The instability in the region led to extensive displacement of the population, with millions of individuals being compelled to flee their homes, according to the UN humanitarian agency OCHA. A two-week truce came into force on Friday in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between government forces and rebels from the March 23 (M23) movement, Congolese news portal Actualite reported. The truce is reportedly of a humanitarian nature and is intended to facilitate access to aid for the local population in need, as well as facilitate the return of refugees to their homes, the electronic publication notes. There are currently 3 million refugees and displaced persons in the province. The United States participated in reaching the ceasefire agreement, the presidency noted. Over the past two weeks, rebel forces have advanced in the north of the province and were able to capture three major cities: Kanyabayonga, Kaiga and Kirumba, reports said. Their goal, according to the Congolese radio station Okapi, was to reach the vicinity of the strategically important city of Butembo. However, this week, government forces managed to stop the advance of the rebels 110 km south of Butembo. The most intense fighting took place near the city of Kasege, which is under the control of the Congolese army. The M23 group first rebelled against the government in 2012. However, they disbanded in 2013 following its defeat by the UN-backed Congolese army. The movement resumed attacks in the DRC in 2021 after accusing the country’s authorities of failing to live up to their commitment to integrate Tutsis in the government and the army.

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Niger’s Head Tiani Holds ‘Important’ Meeting With High-Ranking Russian Military Delegation

Relations between Niger and Russia are growing steadily in the military and humanitarian spheres. This is evidenced, among other things, by the May statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov regarding preparations for opening a “full-fledged diplomatic mission” in the West African country. The head of Niger’s ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), Brigadier General Abdourahamane Tiani, received “an important” high-ranking Russian delegation led by Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, Colonel General Yunus-bek Yevkurov, according to the CNSP’s Facebook* post. “Following the meeting, a memorandum of multisectoral cooperation between Niger and Russia was signed, demonstrating the good cooperation between the two countries,” the statement read. The meeting was held with the participation of high representatives of the Niger government, including the Minister of State, Minister of the Interior, Public Security, and Territorial Administration Brigadier General Mohamed Toumba, the Chief of Staff of the President of the CNSP Colonel Ibroh Amadou Bacharou, and the Minister and Director of the President’s Cabinet, Soumana Boubacar. Niger and Russia actively hold regular meetings between military representatives. Last December, the two countries signed an agreement on strengthening cooperation between the nations in the field of defense. To further strengthen this cooperation, in March, Tiani had a lengthy telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which they discussed several topics of common interest and current international affairs. *Meta and its products, Instagram and Facebook, are banned in Russia over extremist activities.

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First Stage of Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapon Drills Kicks Off in Russia’s Southern Military District

In early May, Russian Defense Ministry revealed that missile formations of Russia’s Southern Military District and Navy forces were preparing to hold drills to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the near future. Russia’s Southern Military District has begun the first stage of an exercise involving practical training in the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, the Defence Ministry said. “In accordance with the instructions of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the first stage of the drills has begun in the Southern Military District under the leadership of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation with practical testing of the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the statement said. The drills with the non-strategic nuclear weapons train for receipt of special munitions and equipment of launch vehicles, the ministry added. “As part of this stage, the personnel of the missile formations of the Southern Military District are completing combat training tasks for obtaining special ammunition for the Iskander operational and tactical missile system, equipping them with launch vehicles and covertly advancing to the designated positional area to prepare for missile launches,” the ministry explained, adding that the Russian aviation is training with the equipment of special combat units of aircraft destruction, including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

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