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U.S. evacuates diplomatic staff from Sudan

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
April 24, 2023

The U.S. evacuated American diplomats and their families from Sudan in the early hours of Sunday, as announced by the White House, confirming reports from Khartoum about the operation.

“Today, on my orders, the United States military conducted an operation to extract U.S. Government personnel from Khartoum,” said President Joe Biden in a statement issued by the White House on Sunday.

The U.S. embassy in Khartoum also issued a statement announcing the suspension of its operations due to the continued threat from armed conflict in Sudan.

“Due to the uncertain security situation in Khartoum and closure of the airport, it is not currently safe to undertake a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of private U.S. citizens,” further read the statement.

Three hours before Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had disclosed the evacuation, saying six military helicopters evacuated the American diplomats and their families.

The Sudanese army did not issue a statement on the operation.

Already on Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that they deployed troops in the region to consider options for the evacuation of their diplomats from Sudan.

Already, Saudi Arabia and Jordan evacuated their nationals from the country as the fighting continues between the warring parties despite pledges to observe a three-day humanitarian cessation of hostilities.

The Sudanese military leadership refuses the truce and continues to mass troops from the different regions in the capital after controlling the RSF bases across the country, including in Khartoum. For their part, the paramilitary forces say they are determined to keep the fight.

Biden thanked Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia for their cooperation in achieving the evacuation.

“I am receiving regular reports from my team on their ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan, to the extent possible. We are also working closely with our allies and partners in this effort,” he further said.

The EU countries are expected to evacuate their diplomats in Khartoum, but it is not clear whether they would send helicopters to Khartoum or evacuate the diplomats first by road to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, 650 km from Khartoum.

Saudi Arabia was the first country to evacuate its nationals through Port Sudan, where military frigates transported them to Jeddah on the other side of the Red Sea.

The Saudi foreign ministry said the evacuation included 91 Saudi citizens and around 66 nationals from 12 other countries: Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso.

Riyadh stressed that the first batch of the operation included only nationals in Khartoum.

Sources in Khartoum confirmed that the Saudi ambassador and the other diplomats remained in Khartoum.



(c)2023 the Sudan Tribune (Roubaix, France)

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