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Russia to Get Access to Sudanese Oil Amid Debt Write-Off

Russia has written off $17 million in debt owed by Sudan and won the promise of access to Sudanese oil and gas resources for Russian companies after an intergovernmental commission meeting in Moscow, news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday.

Sudan has looked to Russia and China for investment after being shunned and sanctioned by the West over human rights violations in South Sudan, which broke free from Khartoum in 2011 after a long and bloody civil war.

RIA quoted Sudanese Minerals Minister Ahmed Mohammed Al-Karuri as saying that Russian companies were needed to process natural resources extracted in Sudan, a major oil producer.

"We extract unprocessed  [natural resources] and need to earn added profit [from refining], which requires extra investment," the agency quoted him as saying.

"As for oil, we need to increase the effectiveness of our current drilling and explore for oil in new untapped regions," Al-Karuri said, adding that he expected a delegation from Russia's Gazprom to visit Sudan soon.

During the meeting, which was chaired by Al-Karuri and Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi, the two countries agreed to write of $17 million in Sudanese debt, Al-Karuri said.

An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that Sudan is a member of OPEC.

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