13 December 2012

Sudan: Govt Denies Approving Iranian Naval Base

Khartoum — The Sudanese government on Thursday vehemently denied reports that it has given the go-ahead to Iran on a Red Sea naval base saying it conflicts with Khartoum's policy.

The military cooperation between the two countries came to light following two visits by Iranian warships to Sudan since October.

It also coincided with a suspected Israeli airstrike on a weapons factory in the Sudanese capital last October. The Jewish state did not claim responsibility for the attack but Israeli official blasted Khartoum for what they alleged was passing Iranian rockets to Hamas militants in Gaza strip.

The Sudanese foreign ministry Undersecretary Rahmatallah Osman stressed that as a matter of principle Khartoum does not allow foreign military bases to operate on its territory adding that "Iran is no exception".

This week Stratfor Global Intelligence said that Israel is using Eritrea as a base to monitor Iranian growing activities in the Red Sea.

"Israel's presence in Eritrea is very focused and precise, involving intelligence gathering in the Red Sea and monitoring Iran's activities. Various Stratfor diplomatic sources have said that Israel's presence in Eritrea is small but significant," the strategy consultancy firm said.

Last month the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper said that Tehran presented an alliance proposal to Khartoum for the purpose of "protecting" the Red Sea.

But later the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti denied receiving any such request.

Karti himself has complained publicly about the extent of Sudan's relations with Iran and suggested that it should be downgraded for the sake of better ties with Arab Gulf states.

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