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Sudan says deal with Turkey not threat to Arab nations

December 28, 2017 at 5:26 am

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir (R) can be seen during a joint press conference following their inter-delegation meeting in Khartoum, Sudan on 24 December, 2017 [Binnur Ege Gürün/Anadolu Agency]

Sudan said late Wednesday that a recent deal with Turkey does not harm the security of Arab countries.

The Sudanese embassy in Riyadh released a written statement about the agreements signed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit to Sudan this week.

The statement came following claims in a Saudi Arabian daily newspaper Okaz, which wrote Khartum gave the port city Suakin, or Sawakin, to Ankara.

During Erdogan’s visit, a number of bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries to strengthen ties in such fields as science, technology, industry, agricultural production, forestry, education, tourism, trade, and the economy.

Sudan also agreed to hand over Suakin Island temporarily to Turkey for rebuilding.

Suakin, one of the oldest seaports in Africa, was used by African Muslims who set out for pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

Sudan: We are ready to reach rapprochement with Turkey at any cost

Ottomans used the port city to secure Hejaz province — present-day western Saudi Arabia — from attackers using the Red Sea front.

Riyadh embassy press officer Al-Mutez Ahmed Ibrahim denied the claims by Okaz paper, saying those claims were an insult to the Sudanese authority and its right to develop ties with other countries.

“Suakin belongs to Sudan, nowhere else,” he said.

The officer also said his country had peaceful relations with other nations without harming Arab security.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour also said Tuesday, at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, that his country had temporarily leased Sudan’s Suakin Island to Turkish investors.

Ghandour, underlined his country’s keenness to maintain Red Sea security, stressing Sudan’s readiness to cooperate with different states of the region in this regard.