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Egypt’s Foreign Minister Coordinates with Counterparts for Evacuation of Foreign Citizens in Sudan

April 22, 2023
Smoke rises in Omdurman, near Halfaya Bridge, during clashes between the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army as seen from Khartoum North, Sudan April 15, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has coordinated with his Indian and Dutch counterparts, Foreign Ministers Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Wopke Hoekstra, Egypt’s contribution to the protection of Indian and Dutch nationals in Sudan.

During the calls, which took place on Thursday, 20 April, Shourky reiterated Egypt’s efforts to mediate between the conflicting Sudanese parties. He also stressed the importance of a ceasefire in Sudan and prioritizing dialogue to resolve the conflict in Sudan peacefully.

Both foreign ministers also expressed their appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

What is happening in Sudan?

Since Saturday, 15 April, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — a paramilitary group that operated as a militia during the height of the Darfur conflict but was recently incorporated with the formal military — have been engaged in combat.

On the first day of the fighting, a video surfaced of a number of Egyptian soldiers in Merowe with members of the RSF. The spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces stated that they were in Sudan to conduct joint training with their Sudanese counterparts.

The Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson explained in a statement on 20 April that all necessary coordination was carried out with the Sudanese authorities to land three transport aircraft from the Egyptian Armed Forces in a Sudanese airbase to carry out the evacuation in a fully safe manner. This was followed by the takeoff of three aircrafts in three successive flights, which carried the majority of the members of the Egyptian force to an Egyptian military base in Cairo.

The Egyptian troops had arrived at the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Khartoum as a result of the coordination that was carried out with concerned Sudanese parties, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

They are currently all back on Egyptian soil.

On Tuesday, 18 April, Egypt’s National airline EgyptAir announced the suspension of flights to and from the Sudanese capital Khartoum indefinitely. A suspension of flights was initially announced on Saturday, 15 April for a period of 72 hours following the eruption of conflict.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called for an immediate ceasefire in Sudan and urged opposing forces to prioritise dialogue and national consensus while upholding the interests of the Sudanese people.

An emergency meeting of the Arab League Council at the level of permanent representatives kicked off on Sunday, 16 April, in Cairo, to discuss Sudan’s ongoing armed conflict. The meeting was held at the request of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the RSF and the SAF have been rising for months, but their roots go as far back as the days of former Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019. Under Al-Bashir’s rule, the RSF was formed in 2003 from a number of militias, which played a role in the conflict that raged in the Sudanese region of Darfur for decades. Later Bashir put the RSF under the authority of the SAF in 2017, while maintaining its autonomy and separate command structure.

However, the rising of the current tensions can be traced back to an internationally backed deal was proposed late last year, to put Sudan back on track to democratic transition and a return to civilian rule. This deal was brokered by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Nations, and the United States.

A key condition to this deal taking effect is the merging of the RSF with Sudan’s formal military, a condition the RSF has been resisting.


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