The Egyptian and Sudanese Naval Forces’ elements carried out the joint naval training (SUD-EGY-T-1) in the field of maritime security and countering asymmetric threats, which took place over several days at the naval base of Port Sudan in the Republic of Sudan.
The training included organizing many lectures and workshops to unify concepts among the participants in issues of maritime security, illegal immigration, and countering terrorism & asymmetric threats to come up with a number of recommendations that enhance the joint efforts of both countries in countering illegal maritime activities within the Red Sea arena, the Egyptian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The training comes within the framework of the joint training plan of the Armed Forces with brotherly and friendly countries to enhance partnership relations and military cooperation in various fields, the statement concluded.
In February 2023, the Sudanese Military Council formally authorized the Russian project to build a naval base at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, the first in Africa. The agreement between Moscow and Khartoum will allow Russia to appear on one of the busiest sea routes in the world, arousing the fears of Western governments.
The bilateral discussions on this project, which had started under the presidency of Omar al Bashir, had been interrupted after the 2019 coup d'état and seemed to have been definitively shelved following the second military coup, conducted in 2021. Dialogue would have resumed in 2022 during the visit to Moscow of the Sudanese General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagalo, Deputy Commander of the Military Council and Head of the Rapid Intervention Paramilitary Forces.
However, the agreement risks running aground again due to the political crisis in Sudan, where dialogue is still underway between the political forces for the formation of a new government where civilians and soldiers should share powers. In fact, for the final ratification of the agreement, the approval of a legislative body is required, which has not yet been established.
The base project was approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin in November 2020, before being reviewed by the Sudanese authorities in June of the following year. In announcing the project, Putin had stressed that the future first Russian military base in Africa would be able to accommodate four warships and about 300 soldiers. However last April the television station “Al Arabiya” reported the news according to which Sudan had suspended the agreement pending its approval by the new parliament in Khartoum.
The Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces, General Mohamed Othman al Hussein, later reassured the public by stating that “if the agreement offers advantages for us and satisfies Russia's interests, there is no problem”.
Under the agreement, the concession of the Sudanese area where the naval base will be built will have a duration of 25 years. The facility will be used for repair, maintenance, refueling and short crew downtime. The Russian base in Sudan will be the second abroad for Russia, after that of Tartus, in Syria.