OTTAWA (Reuters) – Countries including France and Germany have helped evacuate about 100 Canadians from Sudan, and Canada is working to evacuate more civilians during a 72-hour ceasefire agreed by warring factions in the North African country, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Tuesday.
Countries globally have rushed to extract foreign diplomats and citizens from Sudan after a conflict between the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) killed hundreds of people, knocked out hospitals and turned residential areas into war zones. A 72-hour ceasefire was agreed on Monday.
The Canadian evacuees were from a group of 550 people who requested assistance, Joly told reporters in Ottawa, adding that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also helped with the evacuations. There are a total of 1,700 Canadians in Sudan registered the foreign ministry.
“We will also be organizing our own evacuation of civilians and we want to seize the opportunity of this ceasefire to do that, and therefore we are working with the Canadian Armed Forces on that specific issue,” Joly said.
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“I’m also engaged in diplomatic discussions to ensure that we can find a permanent resolution to this conflict,” she said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was an “extremely difficult situation” in Sudan and that his government was coordinating with other countries to use limited locations to airlift civilians.
Canada on Sunday suspended operations in Sudan and said its diplomats will temporarily work from a safe location outside the country. Ottawa has also announced immigration measures to support Sudanese temporary residents currently in Canada who cannot return home due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Sudan.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Josie Kao)
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