Suella Braverman lashes back at German swipe that ministers have left Brits ‘to their own devices’ in Sudan amid frantic evacuation drive
- British forces are rushing to evacuate civilians from Sudan during a ceasefire
Suella Braverman today lashed back at German swipes that British citizens have been left ‘to their own devices’ in Sudan.
The Home Secretary dismissed the jibe saying the UK was in a ‘very different situation’ to other countries.
Hundreds of Britons have been evacuated from Sudan as the military races against time to bring people to safety before a ceasefire ends.
Flights began landing in Cyprus overnight, with more due today. But the UK government has been criticised for not stepping in earlier, with diplomats evacuated while civilians were initially told to make their own plans.
In pointed comments, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said she would not leave citizens ‘to their own devices’.
She said ‘unlike in other countries’, Berlin’s evacuation had included all nationals rather than just embassy staff.
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock (left) said she would not leave citizens ‘to their own devices’. Suella Braverman (right) said the UK was in a ‘very different situation’
UK nationals are pictured waiting to disembark from an A400M transport plane at Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus on Tuesday
Rishi Sunak has said it is ‘right’ that diplomats were prioritised ‘because they were being targeted’.
Ms Braverman said she ‘refuted’ the suggestion. ‘We are in a very different situation to other countries. We have got a larger cohort of British nationals in Sudan compared to other countries.’
She added: ‘We are now commencing an extensive operation, working with over 1,000 personnel from the RAF and the armed forces.’
With British citizens, dual nationals and their dependents forced to make their own way to the Wadi Saeedna airstrip where the evacuation flights are taking off from.
British forces are expected to take over control of running Wadi Saeedna from German troops, something which could require a larger UK military presence on the ground.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said 120 British troops have already been supporting the operation there.
The UK military could be ready to use force if needed to protect the air base in the event it comes under attack during the airlift, although the troops are primarily there to help with logistics and providing air traffic control.
The Government is also considering other options, including a possible seaborne evacuation from Port Sudan, some 500 miles from the capital.
HMS Lancaster and the RFA Cardigan Bay have been sent to the region.
The mission was launched during a ceasefire brokered between the warring factions. But Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned the extraction of UK nationals is ‘inherently dangerous’ as ‘we cannot be sure for how long it will hold’.
A UK-born student attempting to flee Sudan said she did not have enough petrol to make the dangerous one-hour drive from the outskirts of Khartoum to the airstrip.
Around 1,400 British military personnel are involved in the ‘large-scale’ evacuation of UK nationals from Sudan. Pictured: British soldiers at the Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus prepare to board a plane to evacuate UK civilians from Sudan
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vists the Crisis Centre in the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office to speak to staff working on the ongoing situation in Sudan on Tuesday
‘I’m trying to get there. But the problem is the vehicles that we have have no gas, and the petrol stations are empty,’ Samar Eltayeb, 20, from Birmingham, told the PA news agency.
‘There’ll be constant flights within the next few days, but if I can’t find gas to get there, then I’m stuck.’
More than 2,000 British citizens have registered in Sudan with the FCDO.
Families with children or elderly relatives, or individuals with medical conditions, will be prioritised for the flights.
Only British passport holders and immediate family members with existing UK entry clearance are being told they are eligible.
Nationals have been warned all travel within Sudan is ‘conducted at your own risk’.