CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s military government signed a $6 billion preliminary agreement with two firms from the United Arab Emirates Tuesday to construct a new port on the Red Sea coast, Sudanese state media said.
According to the SUNA news agency, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and Invictus Investment will build and manage the new port of Abu Amama, about 200 kilometers (about 124 miles) north of Sudan’s only other port, Port Sudan.
The announcement comes a week after Sudan’s ruling military generals signed a “framework agreement” with the country’s main pro-democracy group, among other political forces, which could spur a new civilian government and military removed from power.
But the framework agreement offers only a rough outline of how the country expects to resume its road to democracy and has been rejected by several major political forces. Further talks for a second more inclusive deal are expected soon.
The port of Abu Amama will include an international airport, a network of internal roads and a power station, among other features, said Sudanese Finance Minister Gibreel Ibrahim, who was at the signing.
The site will be a ‘’special economic zone” for trade and business between the Sudanese government and the two UAE businesses. No time frame for Abu Amama’s construction was provided.
The UAE, along with the United States, The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia helped broker last week’s framework deal after facilitating months of cross-party talks. The Gulf state has been a leading investor in Sudan in recent years, an ally of its military generals and a large consumer of Sudanese gold.
Sudan has been plunged into turmoil since the country’s leading military figure, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, led a coup in October 2021 that upended the country’s democratic transition following three decades of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir.