Canadian diplomats to be evacuated from violence-stricken Sudan
Canadian diplomats in Sudan will be evacuated amid intensifying violence between the Sudan Armed Forced (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to a statement released by Global Affairs Canada on Sunday.
“The situation in Sudan has rapidly deteriorated making it impossible to safeguard the safety and security of our staff in Khartoum,” the statement reads. “After consulting with Canada’s ambassador to Sudan, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend our operations in Sudan.”
The statement also explained that Canadian diplomats will work from a safe location outside of Sudan, while maintaining communication with the Sudanese government, neighbouring countries and the international community. All parties will work on a coordinated response to help Canadians still inside Sudan’s borders.
This decision follows a larger trend of international diplomats being evacuated from the war-stricken region. Two weeks ago, Sudan erupted into violence over a planned transition to democratic rule, intensifying deep-rooted conflict between the RSF and SAF. The fighting between these two factions is the result of two commanders’ unwillingness to relinquish their power despite promises of new elections by the end of 2023. The fighting has killed more than 400 people since April 15.
Last Thursday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said there were no means of evacuating Canadians from Sudan as Khartoum was inaccessible.
According to Global Affairs Canada, there are 1,596 Canadians known to be in Sudan. However, since registration is voluntary, the exact number remains unknown.
“We urge all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire and to engage in mediation efforts supported by regional partners that promote dialogue and a lasting peace,” Global Affairs Canada’s statement said. “Canada remains committed to supporting the people of Sudan in their desire to secure a democratic future and a peaceful transition to a civilian-led government.”
On Saturday, United States President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. military had carried out the complete evacuation of embassy personnel in Sudan, calling the rising violence “unconscionable” and thanking American troops for a safe extraction. Diplomats were airlifted and transported to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia, according to officials.
On Twitter, United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that U.K. armed forces have evacuated British diplomats and their families. “I pay tribute to the commitment of our diplomats and bravery of the military personnel who carried out this difficult operation,” Sunak tweeted Sunday.
As international diplomats continue to assess the changing situation in Sudan, Global Affairs Canada says it recognizes the need to offer service and security for Canadians affected by the violence.
“The Canadian embassy will resume operations in Khartoum as soon as the situation in Sudan allows us to guarantee proper service and the safety and security for our staff,” the statement says.
While operations remain suspended, some consular services will continue to be offered in Khartoum. Global Affairs Canada advises Canadians in need of emergency consular help to communicate with their Emergency Watch Response Centre through any of the following ways:
• By calling 1 613-996-8885
• By text message at 1 613-686-3658
• Via WhatsApp at 1 613-909-8881
• Via Telegram at Canada Emergency Abroad
• By e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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