Because of Sudan fighting: Defense Minister Pistorius cancels trips abroad – politics

In response to the worsening situation in Sudan, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has canceled important appointments abroad. This Sunday he wanted to leave for a multi-day trip to the United States and, among other things, meet his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington. Further dates were planned in New York. The trip was canceled on Friday at the request of the Federal Defense Minister. For “reasons of deadlines,” as his ministry briefly announced.

The meeting would have been about Pistorius’ inaugural visit as the new German defense minister to the most important transatlantic partner. Lloyd Austin and he already know each other personally. They already had official business to do with Ukraine aid as part of the Ramstein contact group.

“The situation is absolutely dramatic and absolutely confusing”

In the USA, but also in Germany, plans have been underway for days to fly out foreign nationals who are stuck in Sudan because of the escalation of violence. A week ago on Saturday, two rival generals began to wage their struggle for power at gunpoint. Since then, fighting has continued between the army in power there and the paramilitary group RSF.

Also on the first day of the Muslim fast-breaking festival after Ramadan, there was fighting in many places in the capital Khartoum on Friday. In other parts of the country, too, the parties to the conflict are fighting hard. The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes at least 413 deaths and more than 3,500 injuries, including children.

Smoke over Khartoum, capital of Sudan.

(Photo: Marwan Ali/dpa)

“The situation is absolutely dramatic and absolutely confusing,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday in Berlin after a meeting of the crisis team at the Federal Foreign Office. “We are preparing different options.” The number of Germans who reported a desired evacuation is growing daily and is currently in the “lower three-digit range”.

On Wednesday, a first evacuation attempt with military aircraft from the Bundeswehr failed. The airport in the capital Khartoum is contested. In order for German citizens to be able to fly out safely, conditions at the airport must at least be controllable. This has not been the case so far. All diplomatic attempts to achieve a ceasefire have so far failed. Therefore, the machines of the Bundeswehr initially returned to Germany. According to the Minister of Defense, preparations are being made for a new attempt.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the situation for Germans in the country was getting more difficult every day. Many are in contact by phone. The Germans should continue to stay in a safe place. However, food supplies were running out, and there was also a lack of electricity, for example to charge cell phones. “The need and the urgency are increasing,” said the spokesman for the Foreign Office.

On Friday, the military appeared to be gaining ground in Khartoum. For the first time since the fighting began last Saturday, government troops have been patrolling the capital on foot, eyewitnesses said. The military stated, “We have moved from the phase of steadfast defiance to the gradual cleansing of rebel hotbeds around the capital.” The rival RSF militia condemned the actions of the military and spoke of bombing and artillery fire on residential areas.

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