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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sudanese Shopping for Arms

APDefense Minister Sergei Ivanov meeting with Sudanese Defense Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh at the start of arms talks Monday.
Visiting Sudanese Defense Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh met with defense officials Monday as he kicked off four days of talks for a deal to modernize his country's military.

"We are starting to prepare a Russian-Sudanese intergovernmental agreement on military and technical cooperation," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said after meeting with Saleh.

Ivanov said the agreement would be signed before Saleh leaves Thursday, Interfax reported.

Neither Ivanov nor Saleh would elaborate on the scope of their cooperation. Saleh said Sudan has been using Soviet-made weapons since the 1970s and wants to modernize them as well as buy new arms.

Saleh is expected to meet with officials from the state-controlled arms agency Rosoboronexport and MiG.

MiG officials would not comment Monday.

Russian officials said last year that Sudan was shopping for MiG-29s, and media have reported the country wants 12 planes.

Sudan could also be looking to buy armored personnel carriers and Mi-24 and Mi-17 helicopters, said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies think tank.

Most recently, Sudan bought an unspecified number of Mi-35 helicopters and 60 BTR-80A armored personnel carriers in 2000-01, according to the Rynki Vooruzheny magazine.

However, the agreement to be signed this week will probably not be worth more than $200 million to $300 million over three to five years, Makiyenko said.

Ivanov said Russia is prepared to carry out an inexpensive upgrade of Sudan's military hardware.

Ivanov also brushed off suggestions that Russia is doing anything improper by signing deals with a country that the United States suspects of supporting terrorism.

"Sudan is not under any sanctions, and we have the right to develop neighborly relations with it," he said.