(Reuters/NAN) President Vladimir Putin of Russia has accepted an invitation from his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir to visit the North African country, Sudan’s state news agency reported.
Putin called Bashir on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, SUNA said.
The agency did not provide a date for the visit.
NAN reports that for decades, Russia and Sudan have maintained a strong economic and politically strategic partnership.
Due to solidarity with both the U. S. and with the Soviet Union as well as with the allies of the two nations, Sudan declared neutrality and instead chose membership in the Non-Aligned Movement throughout the Cold War.
Russo-Sudanese relations were minorly damaged when, in 1971 members of the Sudanese Communist Party attempted to assassinate then-president Gaafar Nimeiry.
Nimeiry pegged the blame on the USSR, thus enhancing Sudanese relations with the West, and were damaged again when Sudan supported the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan when the USSR invaded in 1979.
Due to a common enemy, diplomatic cooperation between the two countries dramatically got back on track during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Putin was elected the President, and then the Prime Minister of Russia, and along with Chinese leader Hu Jintao opposing UN Peacekeepers in Darfur.
Russia strongly supports Sudan’s territorial integrity and opposes the creation of an independent Darfurian state.
Also, Russia is Sudan’s strongest investment partner (in Europe) and political ally in Europe, and Russia has repeatedly and significantly regarded Sudan as an important global ally on the African continent.
For decades there have been Sudanese college students studying in Russian universities.
During the 2008 attack on Omdurman and Khartoum, Justice and Equality Movement rebels from Darfur killed a Russian mercenary pilot by shooting his plane down when he tried to strafe them.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institutereports that only eight per cent of Sudanese arms are Chinese, and that Russian arms actually make up the majority, at 87 per cent.
Russia is the major weapons supplier to the Sudan.