Monday, May 29, 2023

Sudan: UN evacuates hundreds of staff but vows to stay

As fighting between the regular army and paramilitary forces continues in Khartoum, Sudan, since April 15, hundreds of UN staff were evacuated on Monday, announced the Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission. United Nations in Sudan (UNITAMS).

UNITAMS said, “Today, the United Nations temporarily moved its internationally recruited staff from Khartoum to Port Sudan for evacuation to neighboring countries, where they will work remotely, in order to provide assistance to the Sudanese people.” continue to reduce the security risk to its employees.” a press release.

The mission said around 700 UN, international NGO and embassy staff and their dependents reached Port Sudan by road. 43 international UN staff and 29 international NGO staff have already been evacuated from El Genein (West Darfur) and Zalingi (Central Darfur) to Chad, while other operations are underway or planned.

UNITAMS remains the leader

“A small number of internationally recruited staff, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Volker Perthes, will remain in Sudan and continue to work towards resolving the current crisis and returning to the mandated functions of the UN,” UNITAMS said. “The UN is also taking necessary measures to protect Sudanese personnel and their families and is exploring all possible avenues to assist them.”

The United Nations in Sudan has 877 international staff and 3,272 national staff, for a total of 4,149. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General said, “Our presence on the ground has been adjusted in light of the security situation, but I assure you that the UN has no plans or views to leave Sudan.” “We are committed to staying in Sudan and supporting the Sudanese people in every way possible. We will do everything we can to save lives while protecting the safety of our employees.”

Volker Perthes said he would continue to use his good offices in close coordination with his partners to reduce tensions and end hostilities in Sudan.

UN chief reiterates call to end fighting

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday welcomed the “safe temporary relocation of hundreds of UN personnel and their dependents from Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan”.

He praised the cooperation of all parties in Sudan for “allowing the operation to proceed without incident”. “The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and to allow all civilians to evacuate areas affected by the fighting,” his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement to the press.

The UN chief ‘reaffirms the UN’s continued commitment to stand and work with the people of Sudan, in full support of their wishes for a peaceful and secure future and for a transitional democratic return’. “The UN will do its work with its personnel inside and outside Sudan,” Haq said. “The Secretary-General will continue to use his good offices in close coordination with our partners to reduce tensions and establish a lasting ceasefire,” he added.

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