US evacuates its staff in Sudan, temporarily closes embassy
Washington, Apr 22 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden announced Saturday he had ordered to evacuate its government personnel from Khartoum and has temporarily suspended the operations of its embassy in Sudan .
The president said in a statement released by the White House that Ethiopia, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia were “decisive” for this exit to be successful.
The evacuation was led by the US Africa Command in close collaboration with the State Department.
The Sudanese Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, as was made clear from Washington, were not involved in the operation.
“They cooperated to the extent that they did not shoot our service members in its course,” he said in a call with journalists to Undersecretary for Management of the Department of State, John Bass.
Biden added in his statement that while embassy operations in Sudan are temporarily suspended, the US commitment “to the Sudanese and to the future they want is endless.”
US State Secretary Antony Blinken, said in another note that although the decision to temporarily suspend the operations of an embassy “is always difficult,” the safety of its staff is a “priority” and that step has been taken in the face of “increasing and serious risks” caused by the conflict.
From Washington it was stressed that they are going to continue helping the Americans in Sudan for their “own security” and so that they can be informed.
Djibouti, as said by the Biden administration, is considering using its intelligence and surveillance and reconnaissance means to analyze possible exit routes and detect threats, and using “maritime resources” in the Sudan port to potentially help Americans who arrive there.
“We will also continue to coordinate with our allies, as well as our local partners, in efforts to ensure the safety of their personnel,” Blinken said.
Bass added that some members of other diplomatic legations who were in the US at that time were also evacuated: “Once at the embassy, we felt that the most prudent thing to do was to take them with us,” Bass said without specifying the number or the nationalities.
In all, fewer than 100 people were evacuated, and some 100 members of the US forces participated in the evacuation.
The Biden administration spoke of the need to end the conflict.
“This tragic violence in Sudan has already cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. It is inconceivable and must stop. The warring parties must implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, allow unimpeded humanitarian access and respect the will of the people of Sudan” the president said.
On Saturday, the US embassy in Khartoum had reported that due to the insecurity situation in the capital and the closure of the international airport, it was not safe to carry out an evacuation. This was despite the fact that the Sudanese army had said shortly before that the Americans were going to proceed with the repatriation in a matter of “hours.”
The fighting that began on Apr. 15 between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary group arose after weeks of tension over the reform of the security forces in negotiations to form a new transitional government.
Both forces perpetrated of the joint coup that overthrew the transitional government of Sudan in October 2021.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, according to the count offered this Friday by the World Health Organization, at least 413 people have died and 3,551 have been injured in Sudan.
The Pentagon announced Thursday it was closely monitoring the situation in Sudan and had deployed troops to the region in case it was necessary to evacuate its personnel from the country, something that finally happened Saturday.
The US forces planes left Djibouti and stopped in Ethiopia to refuel before heading to Khartoum and back. “The operation was quick and clean and the evacuees are safe and sound,” Lt. Gen. D.A. Sims said on the call to the press. EFE