US Navy ship docks in Sudan to strengthen military ties

The 'USNS Carson City' is the first American naval ship to visit the country in decades

epa07632457 The USNS 'Carson City' of the United States of America and the German frigate 'Hamburg' (L) of the German in the port of Eckernförde, northern Germany, 7 June 2019. The ship will take part of the annual multi-national military exercise 'BALTOPS' (Baltic Operations) in the Baltic Sea in the next week. More than 50 ships from 15 different NATO countries will join the exercise.  EPA-EFE/DAVID HECKER
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The first US naval ship to visit Sudan in decades arrived in the country  on Wednesday, a development that reflects the "willingness" of the American military to strengthen relations with the Sudanese Armed Forces, Washington said.

The USNS Carson City, a fast transport ship, docked at Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

"We are honoured to work with our Sudanese partners in the enhancement of maritime security," Capt Frank Okata said.

The arrival of the US vessel follows a visit to Khartoum last month by Ambassador Andrew Young, US Africa Command’s Deputy Commander, and director of intelligence, Rear Admiral Heidi Berg.

The visits reflect closer ties between Khartoum and Washington after the US in December removed Sudan’s name from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

This move, in theory, should allow Sudan access to monetary aid and loans from bilateral donors and international agencies.

Sudan also normalised relations with close US ally Israel in October, ending a formal state of war between the two nations that lasted decades. That move followed similar deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain earlier last year.

Before its arrival in Sudan, the USNS Carson City was part of an American naval task force in the Red Sea. This was to ensure maritime safety and to counter Iran's growing military presence in the strategic waterway that links the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean beyond it with the Mediterranean through Egypt's Suez Canal.