March 26, 2018 / 9:52 PM / 4 months ago

Sudan, Qatar to sign $4 billion deal to manage Red Sea port -ministry

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan and Qatar will sign a $4 billion agreement to jointly develop the Red Sea port of Suakin off Sudan’s coast, Sudanese media quoted Transport Minister Makawi Mohamed Awad as saying.

Awad made the announcement during a visit by Qatari officials to Suakin on Sunday, the reports said.

Officials from Qatar’s transport ministry visiting Sudan told Reuters on Monday that the deal was being prepared but that its cost and other details had not yet been finalized.

The deal is likely to anger Sudan’s northern neighbor Egypt, which accuses Qatar of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement - which Doha has denied - and which joined a Saudi-led boycott of the gas-rich Gulf state last year.

Sudan last year signed a separate deal with Turkey whereby Ankara will restore part of Suakin and construct a naval dock to maintain civilian and military vessels.

It was unclear if the Qatar deal would affect the existing agreement with Turkey.

Khartoum’s strengthening ties with Turkey and Qatar come as it pledges further cooperation with Cairo after a year of rocky relations between the two North African nations.

Sudan recalled its ambassador to Egypt in January without explanation, but allowed him to return earlier this month.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, writing by John Davison in Cairo; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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