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US warship docks in Sudanese eastern port

This picture taken on March 1, 2021 shows a view of the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), part of Destroyer Squadron 2, arriving in Port Sudan. (Photo by AFP)

The USS Winston Churchill docked in Sudan on Monday (March 1), marking a new step in the thawing of relations between Sudan and the United States since the removal of former President Omar al-Bashir.

The two countries have started to rebuild political and economic ties, and late last year the US removed Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terror. Under Bashir, Sudan was accused of harboring militant groups.

Roughly 300 marines stood at attention as the ship approached and was greeted by a Sudanese military band in Port Sudan, a strategically important city along the Red Sea that serves as Sudan's main port.

Russia plans to set up a naval base there capable of mooring nuclear-powered surface vessels, and on Sunday the Admiral Grigorovich Frigate became the first Russian warship to enter the port, Interfax news agency reported.

The reason I'm here is because I want to learn more about your country [and] develop partnerships with your navy, said Rear Admiral Michael Baze, director of maritime affairs for the US Navy's Sixth Fleet.

The visit came after a break of more than 30 years and is considered a visit with great significance and is a return to the American-Sudanese relations in the framework of visits of warships, said Colonel Ibrahim Hammad, fleet commander for the Port Sudan Naval Base.

In late January, officials from the US Africa Command in visited Sudan and discussed opportunities for future military to military engagements, with Sudanese officials, the US said in a statement.

Sudanese officials will tour the ship, the US 6th Fleet said in a statement, and explore opportunities to work together and establish a basis for a relationship committed to security and stability with their US counterparts.

(Source: Reuters)

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