President Vladimir Putin of Russia will meet his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir before Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman, Dmirty Peskov, said Friday.
“He will. Before the final,” Peskov told newsmen when asked if Putin will meet Al-Bashir, who had said he would like to hold talks with the Russian president during his visit to Russia for the World Cup.
This summer’s tournament will come to a close on Sunday, with France taking on Croatia in the final, which will be played at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
NAN reports that Russo-Sudanese relations were 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 opposed 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 in 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 Institute reports 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.