Egypt plays ‘distinguished role’ in evacuating nationals from Sudan amid escalated clashes: Experts



Mon, 24 Apr 2023 - 07:28 GMT


Mon, 24 Apr 2023 - 07:28 GMT

Buses evacuating nationals at Arqeen Border - TV screenshot

Buses evacuating nationals at Arqeen Border - TV screenshot

CAIRO - 24 April 2023: As tensions and insecurity status escalate in Sudan, Egyptian nationals are advised to remain in their residences, and avoid areas of turbulence, and for those who want to leave, while Egyptian authorities started evacuating on Sunday evacuating nationals, who want to leave, from safe areas in Sudan. 


The process of evacuation and the rapid response from the Egyptian side have been praised by international relations experts who highlighted the concerted efforts from Egyptian authorities, in coordination with their Sudanese counterparts. 


The ministry indicated that 436 citizens had been evacuated through urban crossings. The figure could be changed as the evacuation process is still ongoing until the time of writing this article.


Distinguished role


Dr. Osama Al-Saeed, an expert in international relations, told Egypt Today magazine that Egypt plays a distinguished role in evacuating its nationals from Sudan, and this encouraged other countries to rely on it.


“The evacuation was expected in light of the continuation of operations and clashes between the Sudanese National Army and the Rapid Support Militia, with the extension of the confrontations and clashes that entered its second week, and it was imperative for countries to take this step and evacuate their citizens to protect them,” Dr. Al-Saeed added. He further continued saying that there are international fears of the escalation of clashes, and there are estimates published during the past days, indicating that the security situation in Sudan will not change in the short term.


He continued, "There was a rapid and intense movement by many countries to evacuate their nationals, especially in light of the closure of Sudanese airspace, and it was necessary to take alternative routes through land paths or through ports, specifically the port of Port Sudan."


In similar context, Ahmed Aliba, an expert at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Studies, told Egypt Today that we are facing a moment in which interaction takes place on the part of the various parties in Sudan to deal with the repercussions of the military escalation, to evacuate the nationals of these countries, and Egypt is one of the first countries that began to move in this direction.


He added: “Despite the existing complexities and the lack of guarantee of the existence of humanitarian corridors, but the idea that each country is carrying out the process of evacuating requires a kind of joint coordination to avoid obstacles coming due to the flow of large number of evacuees. 


He stressed, "There are nationals present in the country who are not registered with the embassy, or whose whereabouts are unknown, or who are present in the areas of the outskirts or the areas of engagement themselves."


On the other hand, a number of Sudanese families thanked Egyptian authorities for facilities provided to them at the border, as they were welcomed to the Egyptian lands, as they expressed that “Egypt is their second homeland, and that they feel safe there.” 


Arqeen Border


In a press statement, the ministry said that the would-be evacuees were asked to head for Egypt's consulate in Khartoum and in Port Sudan or the consular office in Wadi Halfa in northern Sudan for the beginning of their trip home.


Operations Head at Egyptian Red Crescent Lotfy Ghaith says that Egyptians arriving at Arqeen land crossing border are provided with food, transportation to Egyptian territories, and phone calls to their families. Ghaith added that cooperation between the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Sudanese Red Crescent as the former provided aid in 2020 and 2021.


There are several crossings along the 1,000-kilometer border of Egypt and Sudan, but Arqeen is the easiest of them for people.


The Egyptian Crescent provides medical assistance at Arqeen Crossing to all those who arrive from Sudan.


Awad Al-Ghannam, Extra News correspondent at the Arqeen border crossing, said that the picture has changed dramatically at the Arqeen crossing, which is an important land crossing between a large number of crossings separating the Egyptian-Sudanese borders.


He added: “Since the first moments of this crisis and clashes, there have been concerted efforts by the Egyptian state inside the crossing in preparation for the crossing of the Egyptians, and there is an emergency room from a large number of security services, and a large number of Egyptian statesmen to check on what is going on inside the crossing.” .


Evacuations around the clock


Arqeen Crossing at the Egyptian-Sudanese border works around the clock in one way to Egypt to receive Egyptians, Sudanese, and people from all nationalities who are fleeing the country. 


The Italian Foreign Minister announced the evacuation of 19 Italian nationals in Sudan, in coordination with Egypt.


The border has received more than 90 buses thus far, including a bus carrying 30 students, and another bus carrying 50 Egyptian students returning from Sudan crossed the border, according to confirmed sources.


Several states have contacted Egypt to facilitate the evacuation of their nationals from Sudan to its northern neighbor, Egypt. Hence, many people of several nationalities are expected to arrive at Arqeen Crossing in the coming hours.


An Egyptian bus driver told Egypt Today that it took him a day and a half to get to Arqeen from Khartoum in an exhausting journey for all those on board.


Dozens of buses carrying hundreds of Egyptians and Sudanese people, as well as other nationalities arrive at Arqeen Crossing around the clock.


The Egyptian consulates in Sudan are also exerting great efforts to evacuate Egyptians and others.


People arriving at Arqeen Crossing board buses to the nearest Egyptian city, which is called Karkar. It is 50 kilometers south of Aswan, and so there will be another means of transportation from there to airports or trains.


Buses increased their fare fivefold to carry passengers from Khartoum to Egypt.


On other side, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi received a phone call from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak where they discussed the evacuation of Egyptian and British nationals from Sudan.


Sisi and Sunak discussed Egypt’s efforts with all Sudanese parties to reach a ceasefire, calling on the factions to spare the Sudanese people catastrophic results of the conflict.


The Egyptian authorities provide many services and facilitations to the evacuated who had driven hundreds of kilometers from Sudan to Arqeen Crossing.




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