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Friday, December 1, 2023

Sudan. More countries are evacuating their citizens. U.S. embassy staff were expected to leave the country within an hour

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The US military has evacuated the staff of the US embassy in Khartoum, US President Joe Biden said on Saturday. Reuters reported that the personnel evacuation mission was carried out within an hour. The UK and Saudi Arabia also evacuated. Other countries have already announced similar actions.

The Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) was the first to inform the US military on Sunday morning, which reported that the US army successfully evacuated the staff of the US embassy in Khartoum with their families in six planes.

About two hours later, the success of the mission was confirmed by the US president on Twitter Joe Biden. “Today, on my orders, US forces evacuated personnel from Khartoum. … We are temporarily suspending the operation of the US Embassy in Sudan but continuing our commitment to the Sudanese people and their future,” Biden said in a series of tweets.

The US Secretary of State also wrote about the evacuation of personnel and their families in a statement Anthony Blinken. “We will continue to help Americans in Sudan plan for their own security and provide regular updates to U.S. citizens in the area,” he added, reiterating his calls on the warring parties to urgently extend and expand the ceasefire.

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Rebellion in SudanNewscom/PAP/EPA

Fewer than 100 people were evacuated

Not only the entire American personnel, nearly 100 people, but also a small number of diplomats from other countries were evacuated from the Sudanese capital. The mission began on Saturday afternoon when the US Air Force, including three MH-47 Chinook helicopters, took off from a US base in Djibouti, then stopped in Ethiopia to refuel before flying for three hours towards Khartoum. After an evacuation operation lasting about an hour, the planes left Sudan without being exposed to the risk of shelling, Reuters reported, citing US military officials.

Smoke rising over Khartoum PAP/EPA/MOHND AWAD

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that the country’s armed forces had evacuated diplomatic staff and their family members from Sudan.

“I pay tribute to the commitment of our diplomats and the courage of military personnel who carried out this difficult operation,” Sunak wrote on Twitter. “We continue to explore all possibilities to end the bloodshed in Sudan and ensure the safety of British citizens remaining in the country,” the UK prime minister added.

The evacuation of British diplomats was a complicated operation because the embassy in Khartoum is located between the headquarters of two warring parties in Sudan, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC. He also thanked the US and French authorities for their help in carrying out this operation.

The Canadian government said on Sunday it had temporarily suspended operations in Sudan and Canadian diplomats would work in a safe location outside the country. Consular services are provided to a limited extent.

Other countries decide to evacuate

“Our services will do everything in their power to bring the Dutch back as quickly and safely as possible,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra tweeted. The local Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that there are currently 152 Dutch citizens in Sudan.

The French Foreign Ministry said a “rapid evacuation operation” was underway. “European and ‘allied partner countries’ citizens arriving in Sudan may also be subject to evacuation,” the Foreign Ministry said in Paris. The French daily Le Figaro reported that 250 French nationals remained in Sudan. “The decision has been taken to ensure the return to the country of our citizens who are in conflict zones,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry also said on Sunday.

Egypt, in turn, urged its citizens outside Khartoum to go to the consulates in Port Sudan and Wadi Halfa in the north of the country to prepare for evacuation. He ordered citizens staying in the Sudanese capital to take shelter in their homes until the situation improves.

Italy said its citizens would be evacuated from Sudan on Sunday night along with some people from Switzerland, the Vatican and other European countries.

It announced its first major operation on Saturday Saudi Arabiawhich repatriated 91 nationals and 66 foreign nationals.

Also for a few days South Korea and Japan are deploying forces in neighboring countries to evacuate their diplomats and citizens from Sudan, and the European Union is considering similar steps.

Japan prepares to evacuate citizens from SudanPAP/EPA/JIJI PRESS

The Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) “confirmed full cooperation with all diplomatic missions, providing them with all necessary means of protection and safe return to their countries.”

Fighting continues despite the truce

The Sudanese army said on Friday evening that it had agreed to a three-day truce in nearly a week of fighting. Earlier, the parties to the conflict had announced a ceasefire several times, but each time military operations were quickly resumed.

Despite the cease-fire, shootings broke out periodically in Khartoum on Saturday and there were also airstrikes, the BBC reported.

World Health ORganisation 413 people have been killed and 3,551 injured in Sudan since the beginning of the fighting between the RSF and the government army.

Author:dg, pp, ks / prpb, kg

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JIJI PRESS

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