A man holding Sudanese flagInternationalIndiaAfricaLast month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Sudan, where he held talks with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Al-Sadiq and other top officials. The diplomats discussed key aspects of multifaceted Russian-Sudanese cooperation, as well as topical international and regional issues.The central banks of Sudan and Russia are in talks on the possibility of using national currencies in mutual settlements, Sudan’s Ambassador to Russia Hassan Mohammed Elghazali Eltijani Sirraj told Sputnik. “Russia has suggested to Sudan to use a system of financial transactions, in which we would use national currencies. This issue is being discussed by the central banks of both countries, we will see if this is possible,” he said.According to the ambassador, the issue is mostly technical. The central banks are expected to examine the matter in detail, and decide whether it is possible or not, he stated, underlining that the results will be known in the near future. Russia has been looking to eradicate the dollar and euro from its foreign trade relations since the 2014 wave of sanctions over Crimea. In 2022, the country intensified these efforts after the sanctions imposed over the special military operation in Ukraine. The ambassador commented on the issue, saying that the introduction of unilateral sanctions against Russia could lead to negative consequences, and affect not only the country itself, but other nations across the globe. Therefore, he underlined, imposing sanctions is an ineffective tool that “can’t solve any problems.”He also emphasized that Sudan would like to increase trade with Russia. The country is interested in purchasing Russian grain and oils, and could also become a hub for the sale of products from Russia to other countries due to its strategically convenient location.The diplomat added that Sudan, for its part, is considering the possibility of supplying its agricultural products such as cotton, food additives, and fruits to Russian markets. In particular, he noted that Sudan could supply gum arabic to Russia, of which the country is one of the largest global producers. “The level of the trade exchange between Russia and Sudan is not up to the desired level, and its increase would have a positive impact on both countries,” Sirraj explained.He mentioned that the resumption of direct flights between the two countries could create more opportunities for boosting mutual trade and improving trade relations. The ambassador said that Khartoum would like to restore direct flights, as this would remove obstacles to the movement of people and trade, and would have a positive impact on bilateral relations.”During the Soviet times, we had direct flights, Aeroflot flew to Sudan and used the country’s airport as a hub to visit other countries. I hope that this issue of direct flights between the Russian Federation and Sudan will be reviewed and direct flights will be launched,” Sirraj said.However, the ambassador noted that Sudan has so far not discussed this issue with Moscow.AfricaSudan to Enhance Cooperation With Russia in Oil Production, Energy Ministry Says3 March, 18:10 GMTHe also touched upon the topic of enhancing bilateral cooperation in other spheres of mutual interest, including exploration and production of minerals. He said that several Russian companies are already operating in Sudan, for example in its gold mining sector.Sirraj recalled that the issue of expanding cooperation in mining was discussed during a meeting of the intergovernmental commission last year. He underlined that the field could attract Russian investment. Moreover, the participation and experience of Russian companies, he stressed, could make the county’s mining, in particular gold mining, “better regulated and more organized.”Commenting on Lavrov’s visit to Sudan, Sirraj said that this was an important milestone in the development of relations between the two countries. The diplomat noted that during the visit, the issue of Russia’s readiness to support African countries in the fight against terrorism was on the agenda. According to Sirraj, Sudan is interested in exchanging data from satellites with Moscow in order to combat terrorism and protect the country’s borders. “Sudan would welcome any kind of support from Russia in the area of fighting terrorism. Challenges are very big in Sudan. This is needed in terms of cooperation between the relevant institutions in Sudan with the Russian side. Besides, technical cooperation between Sudan and Russia in the use of satellites to monitor borders and exchange such information between the two countries will be very helpful,” Sirraj said. He added that Sudan, as the third largest country in Africa, bordering seven other states, is witnessing a fragile situation in the areas of politics and security in neighboring countries, including Libya. Therefore, the Sudanese authorities are making significant efforts to control the country’s borders and ensure security. The Sudanese ambassador also reiterated the country’s participation in the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit, set to take place in St. Petersburg in July. He noted that the country considers the summit as an opportunity to advance economic ties with Russia.