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
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.
An army envoy is also to be sent to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, for talks after the presidents of South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti worked on a proposal for the truce extensions, the statement added.
But the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, more commonly known as "Hemedti," accused the army of attacking its forces on Thursday.
The French AFP news agency reported that the army launched air strikes in the capital Khartoum on Thursday, targetting the RSF, while deadly fighting also flared up in Darfur.
More DW coverage of the conflict in Sudan
Western states were heavily involved in the reform process in Sudan after the fall of Omar al-Bashir. In light of the escalating violence there, some are wondering if Western countries and their allies mishandled the situation.
Sudan's neighbors are working to prevent an escalation of fighting in the region. Ethiopia is mediating through the African bloc, but experts say the neighbor in the Horn of Africa should take a stronger leadership role.
fb/msh (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
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