DUBAI: A US Navy ship has docked in Port Sudan on a scheduled visit a day after a Russian warship entered at the port,  TV news channel Al Arabiya reported.

The US guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill’s arrival on Monday is the first visit by the country’s navy in more than 25 years, and came a day after the Russian warship Admiral Grigorovich docked.

The dock is a strategically important one and Moscow plans to build a naval base there with a capacity for 300 military and civilian personnel and four ships.

The arrival of the USS Winston S. Churchill in Sudan’s main port marks an increase in bilateral military engagement after a thaw in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Together with Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government, we are striving to build a partnership between our two armed forces,” Rear Admiral Michael Baze, director of maritime headquarters, Navy Africa, US Sixth Fleet said in a US Navy statement.

The US statement added that the visit would provide an opportunity for Sudanese and US military leaders to engage in talks to further improve relations and strengthen security in the region.

Sudan was removed for the US list of states sponsors of terrorism last year in an agreement that also saw the US provide Sudan with a $1 billion bridge loan to clear the $1.2 billion it owed the World Bank in arrears, after Khartoum signed the “Abraham Accords” to normalize ties with Israel.

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