Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sudan: Sudan Updates – China, France Fly and Ferry More People Out

Beijing said it deployed its navy to rescue Chinese citizens, and Paris said it was evacuating more foreign nationals. Meanwhile, the UK warned such missions could be halted after a fragile truce ends. DW has the latest.

France’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that more people were evacuated from conflict-hit Sudan as a patchy cease-fire expires. Paris said it has so far flown or shipped out a total of 936 people, many of them French nationals but also including Americans, Britons, Ethiopians, Dutch, Italians and Swedes.

Separately, China’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that it deployed its navy to fetch Chinese citizens from Sudan.

Tan Kefei, the ministry’s spokesperson, said the navy was deployed Wednesday “to protect the lives and property of Chinese people in Sudan.” The number of Chinese vessels involved was not immediately clear.

Beijing says that most Chinese citizens have been safely moved in groups to other countries in the region. Between Tuesday and Thursday, around 800 were transferred by sea and 300 were evacuated to neighboring countries by land, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

With over 130 Chinese companies investing in Sudan as of 2022, Beijing says it is the African nation’s largest trading partner.

Governments from around the world have been racing to bring home their embassy staff and citizens from Sudan by road, air and sea. Rescue operations intensified as a patchy 72-hour cease-fire slowed down the fighting between the army and paramilitaries since Tuesday.

But doubts were growing that such operations could continue as the fragile truce neared an end.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called on UK citizens and their relatives in Sudan to use flights out on Thursday while they were still available.

“We cannot predict exactly what will happen when that cease-fire ends but what we do know is it will be much, much harder, potentially impossible,” Cleverly told broadcaster Sky News.

Here are other key headlines about the crisis in Sudan for Thursday, April 27:

US, African states push for cease-fire extension

Washington and Sudan’s neighbors have been racing to extend a US-brokered 3-day truce between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary and the Sudanese army.

The US State Department said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat discussed working toward a sustainable end to the fighting in Sudan.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads the military, gave initial approval for the extension of the cease-fire late on Wednesday for another 72 hours, the army said in a statement.