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U.S. prepares for possible evacuation of embassy staff in Sudan | Conflict News

The Pentagon said it had deployed “military capabilities” near Sudan in case it needed to help embassy personnel leave.

Washington DC – The Pentagon said the United States was deploying additional “military capabilities” in areas around Sudan in preparation for the possible evacuation of staff from the U.S. embassy in Khartoum if violence worsens.

Pentagon spokesman Phil Ventura said on Thursday that the Pentagon was “carefully planning” for scenarios in Sudan where a clash between the general leading the paramilitary group and the military could turn into an all-out war.

“As part of this, we are deploying additional capabilities near the area to secure and possibly facilitate the departure of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan should the situation warrant it,” Ventura said in a statement.

U.S. troops have been deploying to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Reuters and Associated Press quoted government officials as saying.

Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) loyal to General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo erupted last week, killing more than 300 people and trapping thousands more At home in Khartoum.

On Thursday, Washington urged the two generals to extend a fragile ceasefire that expired late Thursday until Sunday to cover the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday.

U.S. State Department spokesman Vedante Patel stressed that there was “no military solution” to the crisis.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces,” he said.

Patel added that U.S. embassy personnel in Khartoum remained safe and were no longer missing. He said U.S. citizens in the country should “stay indoors,” stay off the road, shelter in place and avoid travel.

Khartoum’s airport has been closed for days as both sides in the conflict struggle to contain it.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with Burhan and Hemeti by phone and also called for a ceasefire.

“The people of Sudan have made their democratic aspirations clear,” Blinken said on Tuesday. “After months of talks, they are on the verge of restoring a civilian-led government. We remain committed to helping them achieve that goal. In the meantime, we will take all appropriate steps to keep our people safe.”

Relations between Khartoum and Washington have been warming after years of hostility as Sudan’s military ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 after months of anti-government protests.

The two countries will resume diplomatic relations in 2020. Sudan also agreed to normalize relations with Israel and was removed from the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism”.

For the past year, Washington has been urging Sudan to transition to civilian and democratic rule.

Sudan’s military staged a coup against Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok’s civilian government in October 2021, leading to his resignation in early 2022.

Before the latest violence erupted, Sudan’s leaders were poised to sign a deal to return the country to a democratic transition earlier this month, but the deal was delayed amid unresolved differences.

“The important thing now is to achieve a truce, at least during Eid al-Fitr,” former US ambassador to Sudan Timothy Carney told Al Jazeera on Thursday.

He said he believed Washington was “working with regional powers to keep up the verbal pressure on fighters to reach a truce that would lead to negotiations”.

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