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Cablegate: Sudan and Belarus Sign Military Pact, Minsk Stays Silent

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSK #0648 1701006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191006Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MINSK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4574
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0001
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0025
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS MINSK 000648

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PARM ETRD UNSC SU BO
SUBJECT: Sudan and Belarus Sign Military Pact, Minsk Stays Silent

Ref: Minsk081124Z JUN 06 IIR 6 937 0054 06

1. (U) On June 16, on-line Sudanese newspaper the Sudan Tribune
announced that Sudanese Defense Minister General Abdelrahim Mohamed
Hussein signed a military cooperation protocol with his Belarusian
counterpart Leonid Maltsev on June 15 in Minsk. The article
claimed Hussein was in Belarus June 13 to 15 for talks with the
Belarusian Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs. The military
cooperation protocol reportedly covers "training, exchange of
experiences, and military science fields." The paper claimed the
Belarusian side hoped to boost its exports to Sudan, especially of
tractors, and to play a role in developing Sudanese oil fields.

2. (SBU) The Belarusian government made no announcements of any
cooperation protocol. No GOB body, including the MFA, MOD, or
state news agency BelTA, even mentioned that a Sudanese delegation
was in Minsk. [Note: Poloff by chance directly observed Defense
Minister Maltsev entertaining the Sudanese delegation at a Minsk
restaurant. Maltsev was accompanied by a senior military officer,
and, according to the license plates on the vehicles, officials
from the BKGB.]

3. (U) The Sudan Tribune article also stated that Belarus has
exported weapons to Sudan since 1996, and provided the following
list of arms sold:

1996: nine T-55 tanks;
1997: six Mi-24B attack helicopters;
2003: nine BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, 39 BRDM-2 armored
reconnaissance vehicles, 16 D-30 howitzer guns, 10 Gvodzdika self-
propelled howitzers, six Grad multiple rocket launders;
2004: 21 BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles, seven BTR-70
armored personnel carriers, one BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle.

4. (SBU) Comment: Post believes that such a deal was signed. The
GOB has long sought to increase cooperation among the world's
outcast nations, to counter pressure from both the West and now
from Russia. The Belarusian Foreign Minister visited Khartoum in
early February, where he signed a number of agreements on
scientific, agricultural, and commercial cooperation. Minsk has
also been actively building ties with Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North
Korea (which has a delegation coming to Minsk June 26 to 30).
Belarus is possibly keeping this new agreement quiet, given the
UNSC sanctions on Sudan. Normally the GOB trumpets such agreements
as further "evidence" Belarus is not internationally isolated.
Post also has reason to believe Minsk is still supplying military
equipment to Khartoum (reftel).

KROL

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