November 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Thursday Castigated the U.S. policy in the Middle East region and praised Russia for its support for his country on the international arena.
Al-Bashir who is visiting Russia for the first time held talks on Thursday with President Vladimir Putin on economic and military cooperation between the two countries at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
According to a translated transcription of al-Bashir’s speech during his meeting with Putin released by the Kremlin, the visiting president thanked Moscow for its support to his government during the past years.
“We are grateful to Russia for its position at international venues. We appreciate its efforts to protect the Sudan,” said al-Bashir during the meeting which was attended by ministers from both sides.
“Our positions coincide on the majority of issues. We are primarily opposed to U.S. interference in the domestic affairs of Arab countries, in particular, U.S. interference in Iran,” he further added in his remarks to Putin who was sitting beside him.
The Sudanese president is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the actions of his government forces during the counterinsurgency in Darfur region. Also, the UN Security Council and the U.S. administration imposed a number of sanctions against the Sudan.
In a shift of American policy towards the east African country, President Donald Trump last October decided to repeal the economic sanctions on Sudan. Also, American and Sudanese officials agreed to resume talks on the remaining sanctions.
Nonetheless, al-Bashir went in his speech to Putin to accuse Washington of being the source of the problems that the Middle East is facing now.
“We think the situation that developed in our country (the same applies to Darfur and South Sudan) has the same roots – U.S. policy. As a result, our country split into two parts, which made a bad situation worse. We need protection from aggressive U.S. actions,” he stressed.
“We believe that what is happening in Syria today is also due to U.S. interference, which resulted in such a disaster there,” he added.
“We think peace cannot be achieved without President Bashar al-Assad. We believe that Syria would have been lost without Russia’s assistance,” said the Sudanese president in what may cause him troubles with his Saudi allies.
It is not clear if al-Bashir was aware that his speech was recorded and would be broadcasted by the Russian government.
ECONOMIC AND MILITARY COOPERATION
During his meeting with Putin which took place after two days of bilateral meetings between different delegations, al-Bashir also expressed his government desire to enhance economic and military relations.
On the military cooperation, he underlined that Sudanese land troops and aviation are equipped with Russian weapons.
“Now we are launching a large programme to reequip our armed forces and we agreed with the Defence Minister [Sergei Shoigu] that Russia will help us in this. We would like to increase our presence in Russia by sending more military attaches here,” he said.
He offered to open Russian military bases in the Red Sea region.
“We are also concerned about the situation in the Red Sea. We believe U.S. interference there is also a problem. We would like to discuss the use of military bases in the Red Sea,” he said.
He said there is a need to have Russian experts in Sudan to ensure the follow-up of the Sudanese army re-equipment process, as it was agreed with the Russian defence minister.
The Sudanese government allocated a significant amount of money to build a strong army and developed in parallel a muscular militia to fight the rebel groups in western and southern parts of the country.
On the economic file, al-Bashir said they want to develop the mining sector, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and construction of nuclear power plants in Sudan. Also, he said they want to develop business with Russia in oil production, agriculture and railways.
In return, al-Bashir proposed to help Russia develop relations with African countries saying “Sudan may become Russian’s key to Africa”.
“We are also interested in developing relations with BRICS,” he concluded.
BRICS is an economic block including Brazil, Russia, India and China, and South Africa, analysts say it will become among the four most dominant economies by the year 2050