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Sudan’s al-Bashir to visit Russia next month

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July 3, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir will visit Moscow during second half of August upon an invitation from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, said Sudan’s Foreign Minister Monday.

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Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir (AFP Photo/ASHRAF SHAZLY)

Last October, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said al-Bashir would pay a visit to Moscow by the end of 2016, but the visit didn’t take place. No explanation has been made for the postponement of the visit.

In a press release on Monday, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said President al-Bashir “will pay an important visit to the Russian Federation in the second half of August at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in order to strengthen bilateral relations between the two friendly countries at all levels”.

He pointed out that the visit would discuss a number of important issues including trade and economic cooperation, political coordination and consultation and mutual support in the various international forums.

The top diplomat underscored Russia is a key supporter of Sudan’s issues at the UN Security Council and other international organizations, pointing to continued coordination between Sudan and Russia at various levels on all bilateral, regional and international issues.

Politically, Russia is seen as a major ally of the government of al-Bashir that faces isolation from the West. However, economic cooperation between the two countries has remained very low, with a trade balance that does not exceed $400 million.
In December 2015, Sudan and Russia signed 14 cooperation agreements in different domains, including oil, minerals and banks.

The agreements also include a concession contract between Sudan and the Russian Rus Geology to prospect for oil in Sudan’s Bloc E57 and another accord for the geological mapping of the Jebel Moya area, North Kordofan State.

Last November, Russia decided to withdraw its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying the tribunal had failed to live up to hopes of the international community.

Russia was one of eleven countries at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that voted in favor of referring the Darfur situation to the ICC in 2005.

Sudan welcomed Moscow’s move, saying it gives strong support to the African stance against the Hague-based tribunal which has charged al-Bashir with ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide connected to the Darfur conflict.

(ST)

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