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Russia’s secretive military operations on rise in Africa

Article by and from AFRICAN NEWS AGENCYDated Wednesday 14 August 2019 Russia’s secretive military operations on the rise in AfricaPrivate Russian military and security operations in Africa are on the increase with little of this being researched o...

Sudan militia chief Hemeti hires Canadian lobbying group for $6m to influence US, Russia, Saudia Arabia, UN, AU, Libya in favour of TMC

Article from The Financial Times.com
By TOM WILSON in London 
Published at FT.com on Sunday 20 June 2019

Sudan militia chief hires Canadian lobbying group for $6m
US filings show boom in such contracts between N American outfits and African governments
Photo: Soldiers wait for the arrival of Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo before a meeting in Aprag village, 60 km from Khartoum, Sudan © Reuters
A feared militia commander in Sudan has hired a Canadian lobbying group he hopes will secure a public meeting with US president Donald Trump, support from Libya’s military leader and free wheat from Russia in return for an upfront fee of $6m
The consultancy agreement, signed in May by Montreal-based Dickens & Madson and Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo of Sudan’s ruling military council, was published on June 17 by the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It is the latest in a series of eye-catching lobbying contracts between North American companies and authoritarian African governments.s military leader and free wheat from Russia in return for an upfront fee of $6m.
For decades, lobbying outfits have served the interests of US businesses and foreign governments willing to pay for introductions and influence. Those companies are expanding their services, promising not only access in Washington but also mediation and dealmaking with third-party governments all over the world.
Matthew Page, a former Department of State official, said lobbying contracts between Washington groups and African states were proliferating because there was a belief that the Trump White House was more susceptible to external influence than previous administrations.
“This is a reflection of the changed political realities in Washington where the dynamics within the Trump administration are fundamentally different in terms of influence peddling,” Mr Page, who is now an associate fellow at Chatham House, a UK think-tank, said. “African governments have always had these types of lobbying firms helping them out but in the Trump era these firms can be more effective.”
Foreign governments, individuals and companies spent almost $1bn on US lobbyists in 2017, according to figures compiled by the Washington-based website OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit organisation which tracks money in US politics.
Services rendered have included securing press coverage for Cameroon’s 82-year-old autocrat Paul Biya, defending officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo from targeted sanctions or blocking the investigation of war crimes in South Sudan.
In Sudan, Dickens & Madson said they would attempt to influence US policy in favour of the transitional military council and help secure funding and equipment for the Sudanese army.
Lt Gen Hamdan and his fellow military officers seized power in April, toppling Omar al-Bashir, a long-term US enemy, following months of government protests. After promising to hand power to civilian rulers, the generals have demurred and in June turned their guns on the people, killing more than 100 civilians in a night-time raid on a pro-democracy sit-in.
The lobbying contract was signed on May 7, before the raid. But even then, Dickens & Madson faced an uphill battle to build US confidence in Lt-Gen Hamdan. Better known as Hemeti, the soldier who is second-in-command in the transitional military council and Sudan’s de facto leader, rose to national prominence as the head of a feared paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.
Members of the RSF have been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Darfur, western Sudan.
The lobbying group’s contract extends further than Washington. It will also push the interests of the Sudanese transitional military council in Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UN, the African Union and “any other mutually agreed upon country or countries,” according to the filings.
In Russia, the company aims to arrange “private meetings...with senior Russian and other political figures” and to secure aid shipments of wheat, diesel and animal feed.
In Libya, the goal is to win funding for the transitional council from military leader General Khalifa Haftar - another Dickens & Madson client - in return for Sudanese military support for the Libyan National Army.
Other objectives include meetings with Middle Eastern heads of state, US investment in Sudan’s oil industry and even the negotiation of an economic union between Sudan and neighbouring South Sudan, which seceded in 2011.
When contacted by the Financial Times, a spokesperson for Dickens & Madson said the company’s president who signed the agreement, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, was travelling and could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Russia vows support to Sudan’s embattled president

March 17, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, said his country would stand by President Omer al-Bashir to overcome the current crisis.
Sudan's embattled president is facing protests that erupted on 19 December 2018 decrying worsening economic conditions and demanding that he step down.
Bogdanov, who is also a Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, on Sunday met with Sudan's First Vice-president and Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf.
In press (...)

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Russia slams U.S. position on South Sudan peace, abstains from voting UNMISS resolution

March 15, 2019 (NEW YORK) - The U.N. Security Council renewed a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for an additional year; while Russia abstained from the vote accusing implicitly the U.S. of not backing the revitalized peace agreement and overburdening the draft resolution with language on human rights issues.
In a meeting held on Friday, the Security Council adopted the resolution 2459 (2019) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter by a vote of 14 in favour to none against with (...)

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Russian presidential envoy to visit Khartoum on Friday

March 13, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, would arrive in Khartoum on Friday.
In a press release on Tuesday, Sudan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Babiker al-Siddig said Bogdanov would convey a message from the Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Omer al-Bashir pertaining to bilateral cooperation on all fileds.
It is noteworthy that Bogdanov also chairs the Russian side of the joint (...)

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Sudan says Russia could set up military base on Red Sea

January 12, 2019 (KHARTOUM) The Sudanese parliament said a draft military agreement signed between Sudan and Russia would pave the road for the latter to build a military base on the Red Sea coast in the future.
In an interview with Sputnik News Service, head of the parliamentary subcommittee on Defence, Security and Public Order, Al-Hadi Adam Musa, described the draft agreement between the two sides to facilitate entry of Russian and Sudanese warships to the ports of the two nations as a (...)

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Sudan denies involvement of Russian mercenaries in anti-protest operations

January 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Interior Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman has dismissed reports saying that Russian mercenaries are participating in the government efforts to quell popular protests that call on President Omer al-Bashir to go.
The London based The Times two days ago said the presence of Russian mercenaries of Wagner private military firm in Khartoum during the protests "raised concerns that the Kremlin is moving to prop up the autocratic regime of President Bashir".
The (...)

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Russian oil firm to explore 4 oil blocks in South Sudan: minister

November 20, 2018 (JUBA) - Russian oil firm Gazprom Neft on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with South Sudanese government to explore four oil blocks, in the east African country.
The deal was announced by South Sudan's Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth, as South Sudan's oil conference started Tuesday with the participation of oil firms and investors from the region.
Minister Gatkuoth who was last October in Moscow told Reuters that the Gazprom was awaiting more (...)

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Sudan, Russia discuss military cooperation

October 28, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Army's Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf and Russia's deputy chief of staff, Admiral Igor Osipov, have discussed military cooperation between the two countries.
Abdel-Marouf on Sunday met with the visiting Russian Admiral in the presence of Sudan's chief of staff of the naval forces, Maj. Gen. Abdallah al-Matari al-Faradi besides the military attachés in Moscow and Khartoum.
During the meeting, Abdel-Marouf pointed to the strong relations between (...)

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Russia’s investments in Sudan suffer from lack of funding: envoy

October 24, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Russia's Ambassador to Khartoum, Vladimir Zheltov, said the implementation of the Russian economic projects in Sudan is facing a number of obstacles particularly lack of funding.
In an interview with Sputnik News Service on Wednesday, Zheltov said despite the significant attention given by the Sudanese and Russian governments “these economic projects may be postponed indefinitely due to lack of money”.
He pointed out that funding always adversely impact on their (...)

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Sudanese-Russian committee to meet in Moscow next month

August 28, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Russia's Ambassador to Khartoum, Vladimir Zheltov, said the joint economic committee between Sudan and Russia would hold its 6th meeting in Moscow next month.
The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) ha quoted Zheltov as saying the meeting would discuss a number of economic and political issues particularly on the domain of minerals.
He pointed out that the Russian embassy and the Sudanese government are currently working to determine the agenda of the (...)

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Sudan, Russia discuss military cooperation

August 13, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf said relations with Russia are developing steadily, particularly military cooperation, describing ties between the two countries as historic.
Ibn Ouf, who received the Russian Ambassador to Sudan Vladimir Zheltov on Monday at his office, pointed to Moscow's supportive stances towards Khartoum.
For his part, Zheltov described relations between the two countries as close and friendly, saying they are based on mutual interests (...)

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Sudan’s al-Bashir to attend World Cup final in Russia

July 12, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir will attend the final of soccer's World Cup in Moscow, the presidency said on Friday, less than a week after a statement by the EU condemning Djibouti and Uganda for receiving al-Bashir.
France will face Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 15, as Human rights groups have called for World leaders to boycott the World Cup in Russia due to Moscow's actions in Syria.
The official news agency SUNA said that al-Bashir will (...)

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Russia, Sudan are discussing naval supply centre, not military base: diplomat

June 9, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Moscow and Khartoum are discussing the establishment of a naval supply centre but not a military base on the Red Sea, said the Russian ambassador to Sudan Vladimir Giltov on Saturday.
During a visit to Russia in November 2017, President Omer al-Bashir offered to President Vladimir Putin to host a military base on the Red Sea saying that Sudan faces "major pressure and conspiracy from the United States."
Experts at the time said Russia would be very careful before (...)

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Sudan, Russia agree to promote military cooperation

June 5, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Russia have agreed to forge strategic partnerships in all fields particularly the military domain in order to achieve interests of the two countries.
On Tuesday, the Sudanese army chief of staff Lt Gen Kamal Abdel-Maarouf al-Mahi met the Russian Ambassador to Khartoum Vladimir Zheltov in the presence of the Russian Military Attaché, Vladimir Gerasimenko.
Al-Mahi praised Russia's support to Sudan in international forums as well as its efforts to achieve (...)

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Russia to supply Sudan with floating nuclear power plant: minister

March 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) Sudan's Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Muataz Musa said Russia has agreed to supply Sudan with a small- capacity floating nuclear plant to produce electricity.
Last December, The Russian State Corporation for Atomic Energy (Rosatom) said it signed an agreement to build the first nuclear power plant to produce electricity in Sudan.
Speaking on a talk show broadcasted by the state-run Radio Omdurman Saturday, Musa said his ministry has put the necessary (...)

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South Sudan seeks to strengthen ties with Russia, China

February 5, 2018 (JUBA) – War-torn South Sudan has, in the wake of the recent arms embargo from the United States administration, vowed to strengthen ties with the Russian Republic and China.
The country's First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said the Juba government no longer looks at the US as its close ally and will instead strengthen its ties with China and Russia, two of the five countries with veto powers at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The Security Council "power of (...)

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