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‘Move now’: Foreign secretary warns UK evacuations could be ‘impossible’ when Sudan truce ends

Foreign Secretary warned stranded Britons in Sudan that it may be “impossible to evacuate” them if a ceasefire ends later. He urged people to get to an airstrip as soon as they could.

James Cleverly said to Sky’s Kay Burley, “We can’t predict what will happen exactly when the ceasefire ends. But what we know is that it could be impossible.”

He stated that, as of Wednesday evening, 536 Britons were rescued in six flights. A “steady stream” of people was arriving at the air strip for RAF planes.

The time is running out on the 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s warring factions. It is set to expire midnight local time (11pm UK) and there is fear that clashes which have already killed hundreds of people will continue.


Mr Cleverly encouraged UK nationals to leave Sudan as quickly as possible by going to the Wadi-Saeedna airstrip near Khartoum.

“There are planes and we have the capacity to lift you up. Once the ceasefire is over, I can’t give those same assurances.

He said, “If you plan to move soon, do it now.”

Although there is a desire to extend the ceasefire agreement, nothing has been reached so far.

Since the fighting broke out between Sudan’s Army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, (RSF), almost two weeks ago, at least 512 people are dead and thousands more injured.

The Foreign Office has registered more than 2,000 Britons as part of the evacuation plan in Sudan, but there could be thousands more.

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Sudan – Relief and joy at being back
Image: RAF aircraft are evacuating Britons from an airstrip near Khartoum

Only British passport holders with UK entry clearance and their immediate family members are eligible to evacuate.

Cleverly did say that a few foreigners were also allowed to fly on the RAF aircraft out of Sudan.

Stansted is the arrival point for flights to London.

The HMS Lancaster was dispatched to Port Sudan. The city has been used by other countries to evacuate people.

Suella Braverman, the UK’s Home Secretary, has rejected a legal and safe route for asylum seekers from Sudan to enter the UK.

She stated that “there are no plans” to do so and the priority was to “support British citizens and their dependents” “first and foremost”.

Read More:

How do British nationals reach the RAF base?

Sudanese evacuees traumatised describe “horrendous” scenes

What is behind the Sudanese fighting?

Some criticised the government’s slowness in implementing its evacuation plan. Countries such as Germany completed evacuations by Tuesday night.

On Saturday, elite troops and UK diplomats evacuated UK diplomats from Sudan.

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“No plans for safe routes to refugees”

Andrew Mitchell, the Africa Minister, has stated that the evacuation mission “is going very smoothly”, but has warned us we are “in hands of the ceasefire”.

He said to Sky News that “we are trying everything” to extend the ceasefire, but continued fighting could lead to a “humanitarian disaster”.

The head of the Sudanese army announced on Wednesday night that it “initially” accepted a plan for extending the ceasefire another 72 hours.

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“The situation in Sudan is dire”

In a statement, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan indicated that he was willing to send an envoy for talks to Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGA), an eight-country trading bloc, proposed a truce agreement, in which both the RSF and the army would send representatives to discuss the possibility of extending the ceasefire.

The RSF did not immediately comment, which if both sides accepted, would be a significant breakthrough.

Fighting has brought the Sudanese population to the brink of collapse. Food is scarce, power is cut in many parts of the capital, and hospitals are closed.

Multiple aid agencies had to suspend their operations, and the UN Refugee Agency said that it was preparing for tens or thousands of refugees to flee to neighboring countries.


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