Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Joe Biden says evacuation of US embassy personnel in Sudan is complete


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According to reports, President Joe Biden said late Saturday that the US military has completed the evacuation of US embassy personnel in Sudan.

He called for an end to the “unconscionable” violence in the war-torn country and thanked US troops who evacuated stranded American workers as Washington indefinitely closed its mission in Khartoum.

The crews were moved to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia, according to two US officials familiar with the mission. US troops carried out the operation as a battle between two armed Sudanese commanders – which has killed more than 400 people, put the country at risk of collapse, and could have consequences far beyond its borders – a Gone in the second week.

“I am proud of the extraordinary commitment of our embassy staff, who performed their duties with courage and professionalism and embodied America’s friendship and engagement with the people of Sudan,” Biden said in a statement. “I am grateful for the exceptional skills of our service members who successfully brought them to safety.”

He also thanked Djibouti, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia for their help in the mission. Mr Biden ordered US troops to evacuate embassy personnel after receiving a recommendation earlier Saturday from his national security team that there was no end to the fighting.

“This tragic violence in Sudan has already claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. This is unconscionable and it must stop,” he said. “The belligerents must immediately and unconditionally implement a ceasefire, allow unimpeded humanitarian access, and respect the will of the Sudanese people.”

The evacuation order is believed to apply to about 70 Americans. The State Department suspended operations at the embassy due to the tight security situation. It was not clear when the embassy could start functioning.

“The widespread fighting has resulted in significant civilian deaths and injuries and has damaged essential infrastructure and posed an unacceptable risk to our embassy personnel,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. On 15 April fighting broke out between two factions, whose leaders are fighting for control of the country.

The violence included an unprovoked attack on a US diplomatic convoy and several incidents in which foreign diplomats and aid workers were killed, injured or assaulted.

Army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan said he would facilitate the evacuation of American, British, Chinese and French nationals and diplomats from Sudan after speaking to leaders of several countries who requested help. The rival Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, said in a Twitter posting that it cooperated with the US military.

Saudi Arabia announced the successful repatriation of some of its nationals on Saturday, sharing footage of Saudi nationals and other foreigners greeted with chocolates and flowers as they stepped off an apparent evacuation ship at the Saudi port of Jeddah.

RSF, which is battling the Sudanese army, said six aircraft were involved in the US rescue operation. The RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamad Dagolo, said it was cooperating with all diplomatic missions and was committed to a three-day ceasefire that was announced at sunset on Friday.

Most major airports have become battlefields and movement out of the capital has proved extremely dangerous. The two rivals have dug in, indicating they will resume fighting after a three-day truce.

Questions have been raised about the mass evacuation of foreign nationals after Sudan’s main international airport was closed and millions sought shelter indoors.

Additional reporting from agencies