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Sudan’s al-Bashir invited to Russian-African meeting in Sochi

Al-Bashir meeting Russian Presidential Envoy Mikhail Bogdanov in Khartoum on 16 March 2019 (Photo SUNA)
March 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has received an invitation from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to attend the first Russian-African summit in October in Sochi.

On Saturday, al-Bashir met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, who arrived in Khartoum as part of an African tour.

Following the meeting, Bogdanov told reporters that they discussed bilateral issues of common concern particularly with regard to trade and economic cooperation as well as coordination at the regional and international forums.

He expressed pleasure at the mutual trust between Khartoum and Moscow on African, Middle East and international issues, saying his country highly praises Sudan’s objective and balanced stances on these issues.

"We are happy with the level of confidence between Moscow and Khartoum in many international, African and Middle East issues," Bogdanov said following his meeting with al-Bashir.

"We highly appreciate the balanced and objective stance of our Sudanese friends towards all these affairs," he further said.

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.

Last January, there were reports that the Russian mercenaries of Wagner private military are participating in the government efforts to quell popular protests that call on President al-Bashir to step down.

However, the Sudanese government dismissed these reports, saying the security situation is fully under control and does not require the intervention of foreign mercenaries.

On the other hand, Sudanese security sources confirmed the presence of Wagner Russian military in the country and that they work with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) but refused to speak about their activities in Sudan.

(ST)