Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press National Defense Minister Anita Anand has clarified that Canadian planes will need space to land at Khartoum airport before repatriation can begin. The military will also need to be able to ensure that Canadians stuck in Sudan can get to the planes.
Sarah Ritchie – The Canadian Press and Dylan Robertson – The Canadian Press in Ottawa
Approximately 200 Canadian military personnel and two large Hercules aircraft are currently stationed in the Sudan region of East Africa, ready to evacuate Canadians stranded in that country struggling with violent episodes, “as soon as conditions on the ground will allow it.”
In a scrum Wednesday afternoon in the House of Commons, the Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand, however, specified that Canadian planes will need space to land at the airport in Khartoum, the country's capital, before repatriation can begin.
The military will also need to be able to ensure Canadians stuck in Sudan can get to the planes safely, she said.
According to the minister, the two Hercules planes are arrived “recently” in East Africa, but she would not reveal the exact time. Ms. Anand also refrained from saying whether Canadian military personnel were already inside Sudan.
Earlier Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced that approximately 50 Canadians had been evacuated from Sudan over the past day.
This means that so far approximately 150 Canadians and permanent residents have been helped out of the country since violent clashes between the army and a paramilitary force group, the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), began last week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week that Canada has a C-17 military aircraft in the region to help transport Canadians. But so far, Ottawa has always relied on other countries to find places on their planes or ships.
700 requests for help
Minister Joly said Wednesday that approximately 1,800 Canadian citizens or permanent residents have now registered their presence in Sudan with the government and that 700 of them have requested assistance to leave the country.
Mélanie Joly added Wednesday that Ottawa is also considering the request of Sudanese diaspora groups in Canada to allow relatives to come to the country temporarily, until the violence subsides.
The Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, said on Wednesday that the government had recalled some employees of the striking Public Service Alliance of Canada, declaring them “essential workers”, in order to process immigration documents for people in Sudan. .
“In times of crisis, Canada is always there to help, and that's why we will be there,” Ms. Joly told reporters on Parliament Hill.
She stressed that Ottawa included dual nationals and permanent residents, as well as their foreign spouses and dependents, such as children and grandchildren, in his repatriation.
Minister Fraser indicated that the Canada was already fast-tracking visitor visa applications that Sudanese citizens had submitted before the violence began. Ottawa is also waiving some fees, such as for Canadians with expired passports.
“We are seeing what is happening and trying to adopt policies that reflect the seriousness of the situation on the ground,” said he told reporters. Some striking public service employees who are deemed essential have returned to work to help those whose lives may be in danger, which is essential. »