Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said late Saturday that the U.S. military “conducted a successful operation to safely evacuate U.S. government personnel out of Sudan.”
“This action, led by U.S. Africa Command and conducted in close coordination with the U.S. State Department, demonstrates the Department of Defense’s support for our nation’s diplomatic personnel,” Austin said. “I’m proud of our extraordinary service members who executed and supported this operation with outstanding precision and professionalism. We also thank our allies and partners, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, which were critical to the success of this operation.”
In a statement released by the White House, President Biden said that on his orders the United States military “conducted an operation to extract U.S. Government personnel from Khartoum.”
“I am proud of the extraordinary commitment of our Embassy staff, who performed their duties with courage and professionalism and embodied America’s friendship and connection with the people of Sudan,” Biden said. “I am grateful for the unmatched skill of our service members who successfully brought them to safety.” He also thanked Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia.“I am receiving regular reports from my team on their ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan, to the extent possible,” he said. We are also working closely with our allies and partners in this effort.” “This tragic violence in Sudan has already cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. It’s unconscionable and it must stop. The belligerent parties must implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and respect the will of the people of Sudan. We are temporarily suspending operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, but our commitment to the Sudanese people and the future they want for themselves is unending.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that all U.S. personnel and their dependents under U.S. security responsibility were safely evacuated.
“Suspending operations at one of our embassies is always a difficult decision, but the safety of our personnel is my first responsibility,” Blinken said. “I directed this temporary action due to the serious and growing security risks created by the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. The widespread fighting has caused significant numbers of civilian deaths and injuries and damage to essential infrastructure and posed an unacceptable risk to our Embassy personnel. I applaud the skill and professionalism of our team on the ground, U.S. military forces, and others across the government who carried out this evacuation mission.”
“We will continue to assist Americans in Sudan in planning for their own safety and provide regular updates to U.S. citizens in the area,” he added. “We will also continue to coordinate with our allies and partners as well as our local partners on efforts to ensure the safety of their personnel.”
“I reiterate my call to both sides to urgently extend and expand the Eid al-Fitr ceasefire to a sustainable cessation of hostilities to prevent further damage to the Sudanese nation. We remind both belligerents of their obligations under international humanitarian law, including obligations related to the protection of civilians. The United States, in partnership with the region and international community, will continue to press efforts to bring an end to this fighting and a return to the process of transition to civilian government.”