Defense joins the MFA in efforts to withdraw the Portuguese from Sudan

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The Ministry of Defense has joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in efforts to withdraw Portuguese citizens trapped in Sudan, after Portuguese diplomacy contacted “all known national citizens,” the government announced in a statement today.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense are working together with other allied countries to ensure the safe withdrawal of nationals who are in Sudan. All known nationals in Sudan have already been contacted and the various situations are being monitored,” the Foreign Office said in a statement released today.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry had already told Lusa that it was “permanently” accompanying the Portuguese who have been detained in Khartoum since the beginning of the conflict and was studying “all possibilities” for their withdrawal.

“This monitoring is being carried out by the Portuguese Embassy in Cairo, the Honorary Consul of Portugal in Khartoum and the consular emergency structures of the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs],” said a source from the office of the ministry headed by João Gomes Cravinho.

Several countries began operations today to evacuate their nationals from Sudanese territory, which is beset by clashes between rival military factions.

Six Spanish army planes flew to Djibouti to remove about 80 people, including Spaniards, Europeans and South Americans, and are “waiting for a safe place to land and begin the operation,” according to information from Spanish diplomatic sources to EFE.

Libyan authorities today completed the evacuation by sea of nearly a hundred citizens stranded in Sudan due to last week’s clashes that left at least 400 dead and more than 3,500 injured.

The Libyan ambassador in Khartoum, Fawzi Boumrez, announced on Saturday the withdrawal of 83 citizens and their families through Port Sudan (northeast), located 600 kilometers from the capital and on the shores of the Red Sea, from where they will be transferred to the Saudi city of Jeddah before returning to their country.

Italy has announced that the repatriation of 140 citizens could take place later today. According to Italian Chancellor Antonio Tajani, “they were contacted during the night, are all well and have been invited to the embassy in Khartoum,” from where they will attempt to leave.

The British government said today that it would withdraw diplomatic staff from Sudan “as soon as possible” and advised Britons stranded there to report their presence to the Foreign Office and remain in a safe place.

France’s foreign minister announced a “rapid withdrawal operation” of French citizens and diplomatic staff, with other European citizens and nationals of “allied partner countries” eligible for assistance.

The Turkish Embassy in Sudan said that the process of withdrawing its citizens would also begin today in light of the current chaotic situation in the capital, Khartoum, and the resumption of clashes.

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the withdrawal of personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Sudan was complete, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Saudis and citizens of other countries withdrawn from Sudan also arrived in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah on Saturday, the same day the army chief admitted he did not control Khartoum’s international airport, jeopardizing the withdrawal.

According to the latest count by the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 413 civilians have been killed and 3,551 injured since the start of the conflict in Sudan.

The clashes began a week ago between the armed forces commanded by the country’s de facto leader since the October 2021 coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”.

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