Sudan Evacuation Flights Will Continue "As Long As Possible"
Commando Brigade and the Joint Force Head Quarters deployed to Cyprus in support of the FCDO Non-combatant Evacuate Operation to remove personnel from Sudan (Alamy)
Downing Street has said that flights evacuating British nationals from Sudan will continue for “as long as possible”, but the situation in the country remains “volatile” despite the ceasefire.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the decision “late last night” to begin the evacuations of British nationals from Sudan, his official spokesman said this morning, with flights now expected to take people to Cyprus from an airbase outside the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
Around 2000 British nationals have registered their presence in Sudan with the Foreign Office.
“We’re continuing to operate evacuation flights for as long as possible with consideration to the risk to both UK personnel and British nationals,” the Prime Minister's spokesperson said.
They described the situation on the ground as “volatile" and said it will require "constant monitoring”.
“Equally we are looking at alternative routes,” they added.
Fighting broke out last week in Sudan’s capital Khartoum between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals, with hundreds killed and thousands injured so far.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced this morning that an evacuation of British citizens would get underway after a 72-hour ceasefire began late on Monday,
“We have started contacting nationals directly and providing routes for departure out of the country," Cleverly tweeted.
On Tuesday morning, Sunak told the weekly Cabinet meeting that government had been "working at pace" to end violence in the region, and confirmed that the Foreign Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence were working alongside government to undertake the evacuation operation.
Cleverly told ministers that the situation remains “volatile” and “dangerous” and will be monitored carefully.
Ministers had been facing questions over how they intended to help get citizens out of Sudan after British diplomats and their families were evacuated over the weekend, in what Rishi Sunak called a “complex and rapid” operation.
Foreign Office travel advice for Sudan has now been updated to say that the “Government will support the departure of British passport holders from Sudan from 25 April on a prioritised basis.”
Seats will be allocated on a priority basis, with family groups with children first alongside people who are elderly or who have documented medical conditions.
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