Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sudan’s warring generals agree to new 3-day truce

Sudanese and foreigners streamed out of the capital of Khartoum and other battle zones as fighting Tuesday shook a new three-day truce brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the latest attempt to pull Africa’s third-largest nation back from the abyss.
So far, a series of short cease-fires the past week have either failed outright or brought only intermittent lulls in the fighting that has raged between the forces of the country’s two top generals since April 15. The lulls have been enough for dramatic evacuations of hundreds of foreigners by air and land, which continued Tuesday. But they have not been enough to bring relief to millions of Sudanese caught in the crossfire, struggling to find food, shelter and medical care as explosions and gunfire rip through their neighborhoods. Calls for negotiations to end the crisis have been ignored, and for many Sudanese, the departure of diplomats, aid workers and other foreigners and closure of embassies is a terrifying sign that international powers expect the mayhem to only worsen.
Thousands of Sudanese have been fleeing Khartoum and its neighboring city of Omdurman, fearing that the rival camps will escalate their all-out battle for power once evacuations are completed.
In Khartoum, bus stations were packed Tuesday morning with people who had spent the night there in hopes of getting on a departing bus. Drivers increased prices, sometimes tenfold, for routes to the border crossing with Egypt or the eastern Red Sea city of Port Sudan.
Airlifts of foreigners continue

Germany said one of its rescue planes flew another mission early Tuesday, bringing the total of people it has evacuated to nearly 500. French military spokesman Col.
Pierre Gaudilliere told journalists Tuesday that the French evacuation mission was completed, having flown out more than 500 people from 40 countries, though a Navy frigate will remain off Port Sudan to help evacuations.
The European airlift, pulling out a broad range of private citizens from many countries, has stood in contrast to more limited operations by the United States and Britain, which sent in teams Sunday to extract their diplomats but initially said they couldn’t organize evacuations for private citizens.
After growing criticism of its failure to help civilians, Britain said Tuesday that it will run evacuation flights for U.K. nationals from an airfield outside Khartoum. But those trying to get on a flight will have to make their own way to the airfield, said British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
The situation is “dangerous, volatile and unpredictable,” Cleverly told Sky News. “We cannot predict how the situation on the ground will develop.”

The U.S. said Monday it is now indirectly helping private American citizens get from Khartoum to Port Sudan. U.S. officials are helping citizens connect to other countries’ convoys making the journey and then to find transport out of the country, as well as using reconnaissance assets to determine safe routes, said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.


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