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Greece joins EU efforts to evacuate civilians from Sudan, incl. 150 Greeks

The Greek government is actively engaged to evacuate Greek citizens from Sudan, however, the current circumstances in the country in the bring of civil war are grim. Nonetheless, there joint European Union efforts to evacuate some 1,000  European citizens once the conditions allow it.

“If a safe way out is not found, we will not proceed with evacuations,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Diaspora Greeks Andreas Katsaniotis told state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.

There are approximately 150 Greeks living in Sudan, with some 70-75 of them being permanent residents in Khartoum and the rest being foreign workers of Greeks assigned to work in schools, for example.

There is not Greek diplomatic mission in the country, it is the Greek embassy in Cairo, Egypt, serving Greeks’ interests in Sudan.

Fifteen Orthodox Christians, including four Greeks remain trapped in the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation in Khartoum since Holy Saturday morning, the day the fighting between the armed forces and Sudan’s largest paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started.

Also on Saturday morning, two Greeks were injured by a mortar while they were leaving the church, their condition is reportedly stable as they are waiting for operation.

Local and foreign civilians have been urged to stay at home, thousands are struggling without water and electricity, food and medicines.

According to the UN, at least 185 people have been killed since April 15 when the heavy fighting started.. Among them are both civilians and fighters. Around 1,800 people have been were injured.

As the fighting continues in several parts of the country, there have been several calls by foreign leaders and institutions including.the UN High Commission for Human Rights for an immediate end to the hostilities.

However, Sudan’s de facto ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has reportedly rejected all calls and told leader to stay away from the country.

Thousands of civilians are trapped in their apartments and houses because of the ongoing shelling, often without electricity and without the ability to get food, water or medicine, UN High commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said in Geneva. International law requires schools and hospitals to be protected.

With the Khartoum international airport closed, evacuation attempts of EU citizens are currently not possible.

Yet, the French, who have also the most people trapped in Sudan, are currently in charge of operations on behalf of the EU and coordinate future evacuation by collecting data of other EU citizens.

German army troops are also getting ready to evacuate some 300 German citizens from Sudan.

However, so far no evacuation move is underway but rather preparations for the case this will be possible.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has activated the ministry’s crisis management unit and is in communication and coordinating with the rest of the EU member-states through the consular cooperation system.

Dendias has asked the Greek Ambassador to Egypt for constant contact with the Greeks in Sudan, as well as with the EU representation in Khartoum, in order to have the best possible coordination for the safety and in order to provide the greatest possible assistance.

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