Home | News    Sunday 16 September 2012

Sudan rejects US Marines and Washington evacuate non essential staff

September 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese government declined a demand by the U.S. administration to deploy Marines’s security team to protect its embassy in Khartoum, as Washington ordered non-essential staff to leave.

Sudanese protesters try to break into the US embassy in Khartoum during a protest against an amateur film mocking Islam on September 14, 2012. (Getty)

Following a violent protest in Friday over an anti Islam film Washington demanded the Sudanese government to allow a special force to protect its diplomatic mission in Khartoum. The demand came after the death of two Sudanese protesters outside it embassy where thousands gathered on Friday.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told Foreign Policy magazine that the Pentagon has to be ready to deal with situations where the protests against the American embassies in the host countries "get out of control".

Also another official said that the Pentagon was discussing whether to send a platoon of 50 anti-terrorism Marines to Khartoum, but a asserted that no decision has been taken yet.

However the official SUNA on Saturday reported that the Sudanese government received such demand from the State Department and rejected the American demand.

Foreign minister Ali Karti received a call from an assistant to the U. S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who expressed the desire of the American Administration to dispatch a special force to protect its embassy in Khartoum following the protests in the Islamic world.

Karti "has declined to authorise the deployment of these forces affirming Sudan’s ability to protect foreign diplomatic missions in Khartoum and reiterated the State’s obligation to protect its guests members of diplomatic missions," the official news agency said.

On the other hand the semi-official SMC news service said that Khartoum’s security coordination committee decided Saturday to tighten security measures and protection of embassies, diplomatic missions, and foreign officials to avoid their exposure to any risk.

In Washington the State Department announced that non-essential staff was ordered to leave the its embassies in Tunisia and Sudan.

"Given the security situation in Tunis and Khartoum, the U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of all family members and non-emergency personnel from both posts, and issued parallel travel warnings to American citizens," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Nuland on Friday evening told reporters that Vice-President Joe Biden spoke with Sudanese Frist Vice President Ali Osman Taha about the deployment of Marines in Khartoum. She also said Thomas R. Nides, Deputy State Department Secretary called a senior Sudanese official for the same purpose.

She also denied that Marines engage protestors in Khartoum pointing out that the Sudanese security forces pushed back demonstrations, including three protestors who managed to get on top of the perimeter wall of the embassy.

The US embassy in Sudan on Saturday issued an emergency message to the American citizens in Khartoum informing them that the embassy is closed until further notice and advise them to stay away and avoid coming to the embassy "for any reason".

There is no clear warning of terrorist threat on the US nationals but the evacuation of non-essential personnel concerns only Khartoum and Tunis, two capital where the US embassies were attacked on Friday and no Marines were dispatched there like in Libya and Yemen.

Sudanese government mobilised 250 police force to protect the US embassy located in the far suburb of Soba. But the protesters stormed easily the German embassy in central Khartoum where a small force war deployed to protect the building despite calls by radical Islamic groups to protest against Germany.

Last August, an administrative court in Berlin rejected a demand of three mosques to prevent a far right group from displaying caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed first published in 2005 which sparked violent protests around the globe.