(Ottawa) A Canadian C-17 aircraft is in the Sudan region and is preparing to repatriate people stranded in the country, but already 58 Canadians have been extricated on board a German aircraft.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided the update midday Monday at the German Embassy in Canada, ahead of a dinner with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is currently visiting the federal capital.
“I just learned earlier today that a German plane took off from Khartoum with a German citizen and 58 Canadian citizens on board,” he said before pointing out that other people should be rescued as well. shortly.
“We also have a C-17 in the area, and we will also provide airlift,” he said, without giving further details. About 1,600 Canadians are currently in Sudan, according to Global Affairs Canada, but there could be more.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly wrote early Monday morning on social media that Ottawa was exploring “options for departure assistance in conjunction with allied countries and the international community” and would implement them “as soon as conditions permit.” would allow it.”
Conditions that could stop deteriorating if the opposing armed factions respect the 72-hour ceasefire which will take effect at midnight on Monday, possibly opening a corridor for foreigners who wish to leave the country, the secretary hoped on Monday. of American State, Antony Blinken.
The Canadian government continues to encourage its citizens to register with the register of Canadian citizens living abroad in order to facilitate the repatriation operation. This could be done in collaboration with partners in the region, in particular Egypt and Kenya, according to our information.
Minister Joly will also meet with her counterpart in Djibouti, where Canada has deployed members of the Permanent Rapid Deployment Team (PRDT) in recent days, and where the largest military bases of the United States are located. States and France on the African continent.
On the diplomatic front, the premises of the Ottawa embassy in Khartoum have been deserted. “Canadian diplomatic personnel will temporarily work from a secure location outside of the country,” Global Affairs Canada said on Sunday.
According to the New York Times, US special forces evacuated six Canadian diplomats, along with 70 US diplomats and some from other countries. The Canadian government did not want to confirm this information for the time being.
Countries preparing repatriation plans for their citizens face serious obstacles on the ground. The British government, which had come under heavy criticism for its handling of the chaotic departure from Afghanistan in 2021, is being closely watched by the opposition.
The Canadian government has also had its share of difficulties in this regard. In Ottawa on Monday during question period, the Liberals were only asked once about the situation in Sudan. But on Twitter, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has already leveled criticism at the government.
“After the botched evacuation from Afghanistan, the Liberals were supposed to come up with a plan to make sure the same scenario never happened again. It turns out that plan seems to be to pray that nothing happens. Canadians stranded in Sudan are suffering because of this failure,” she lamented.
European nations have managed to bring back hundreds of their nationals. More than 1,000 European Union (EU) citizens have been evacuated from Sudan in a “complex operation”, the head of its diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced on Monday.
Violence in Sudan erupted on April 15 between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, de facto leader since the 2021 putsch, and his deputy turned rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, who commands the Rapid Support Forces. (FSR), feared paramilitaries.
The clashes, which have mainly hit the capital, Khartoum, and Darfur in the west of the African country, have so far left more than 420 people dead and 3,700 injured, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). ).