Iranian warships to dock in Sudan

Nov. 27, 2012 at 5:49 AM
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KHARTOUM, Sudan, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Two Iranian warships are en route to Port of Sudan, the second such visit in a month, Col. Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa'ad, a Sudanese military spokesman, said.

Sa'ad said the Iranian ships will anchor at the port this week and stay for three days. He described it as a routine visit within the framework of military cooperation with countries around the world, the Sudan Tribune reported Tuesday.

Iran's Press TV confirmed the report, saying Sudan's army announced the warships would dock at a Sudanese port in the Red Sea in line with the Tehran-Khartoum military cooperation.

Last month, an Iranian destroyer and helicopter docked at the Sudanese port days after the Sudanese government accused Israel of bombing a weapons factory in Khartoum in which two people died. Sudan denied a link between the visit and the alleged Israeli airstrike and also rejected Israel's claims that it serves as a center for smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

The Iranian ships will anchor despite recent comments made by Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karta, who criticized his government's decision to permit the visit, the Tribune said.

In a recent television interview, Karta noted that back in February his ministry's recommendation that Iranian warships be denied entry was accepted. This time, however, he said, he wasn't consulted and learned "through the media" that the Iranian warships would make a stop in Sudan.

He also warned that Sudan's relationship with Iran is viewed suspiciously by Arab states and suggested it would be best to downgrade ties with Tehran.

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