Russia and Sudan are planning to prepare an intergovernmental framework agreement on military-technical cooperation, told journalists Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov after a round of talks with his Sudanese counterpart Bakri Hassan Salih. Ivanov hopes the document will be ready before the Sudanese President's trip to Russia, so that it could be signed during his visit. Talking to journalists, the minister recalled that Sudan had always condemned separatism and terrorism, including those on the territory of Chechnya. "Sudan has always supported Russia's viewpoint that it is necessary to combat this evil," he stressed. "We are grateful to the Sudanese leadership for this position." Answering RIA Novosti's question about military-technical cooperation plans in respect of Russia, Bakri Hassan Salih said the Sudanese army used Russian-made hardware since the 1960s. He said Sudan had made a "political decision" to modernize its weapons and material and purchase new ones, and that it counted on Russia's help. In response, Ivanov assured him that the Russian side was ready to "effect a cheap and all-round modernization of Sudan's Soviet- and Russian-made hardware" so as to bring it into accord with the latest standards. Asked about Russia's attitude to the tension in Sudan-US relations, the Russian defence minister stressed that that was a manifestation of the "double standards" of US policy. "Thankfully, they have stopped heaping accusations on Sudan," he said. "No sanctions were imposed on this country, which means we are free to develop all-round cooperation." He also recalled that Sudan is Africa's largest country and possesses vast energy resources.
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