International Evacuations Amid Sudan Crisis Raise Concerns of Escalating Battle for Control
As the situation in Sudan continues to deteriorate, countries like Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have been evacuating their citizens and other foreign nationals from the country. However, the United States has maintained that carrying out a large-scale operation to rescue some of the thousands of American citizens residing in Sudan is not feasible.
The State Department Principal Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel defended the administration's posture, stating that the U.S. is offering logistical support for some of the mass evacuations orchestrated by other countries. He also said that the State Department was in contact with fewer than 5,000 U.S. citizens about the crisis in Sudan, and only a fraction of that number had actively sought assistance to depart the country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the State Department was working to establish "a sustained process" through which Americans could depart Sudan. "We believe that the best way to have an enduring capability to help people leave Sudan--if that's what they so choose--is overland. And we're working to establish a process that would enable people to move overland to a place where they can more easily exit the country," Blinken said.
At least two American citizens are among the over 500 killed in the violence that erupted two weeks ago, which has injured thousands more. Although the U.S. had assisted in brokering a number of ceasefires in Sudan, their implementation has been uneven. Although both sides agreed to another 72-hour truce on Friday, there's little hope it will hold.
"It's obvious to everybody that the ceasefires are not perfectly working," a U.S. official said. "But we are hearing from multiple contacts on the ground, as well as our international partners, that the series of efforts to push forward ceasefires are creating meaningful periods of reduction of violence and that these periods are allowing people to move out of Khartoum."
Despite the efforts of some countries to evacuate their citizens, there is growing concern that the battle for control over the country will escalate to new levels of intensity as more foreign nationals leave Sudan. The situation remains fluid, and the U.S. and its international partners will need to continue monitoring the situation closely to ensure the safety of all their citizens in the region.