Sudan crisis: Canadians attempt land evacuations as calls for mediation continue
OTTAWA — Canada is encouraging Sudan's neighbours to help the country find a mediated end to recent violence as it attempts to continue getting Canadians to safety via perilous land evacuations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said he spoke Monday morning with Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and thanked him for the country's "exceptional support" in hosting Canadian military and diplomatic personnel.
A readout of the call said the two discussed regional mediation efforts, and Trudeau offered Canadian support towards a peaceful resolution.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is pursuing the same thing and assessing the region's humanitarian needs during a visit to Kenya, which is a major player in East Africa.
Sudan's duelling army and paramilitary forces entered another ceasefire Sunday, but the violence did not stop outright.
That led countries including Canada to abandon evacuation flights and recommend that people shelter in place or take a risky journey by road to Sudan's coast.
The government said that as of Sunday morning, 400 Canadians and permanent residents had left Sudan and Canada's military had conducted six evacuation flights.
Another 230 people who were still in the country have asked for consular assistance and information.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department is allowing Sudanese nationals who are in Canada to extend their stay.
"We’re going to be flexible in allowing them to transition between study permits or work permits or visitor visas as may be required, so the people who are here can continue to live life with minimal interruptions," Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told reporters Monday.
He also said the department is trying to accelerate the processing of applications for travel documents, visas and permanent residency.
However, Fraser also acknowledged that almost 100,000 immigration cases overall were not processed during a strike by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which ended on Monday after 12 days.
That means the delays that have plagued the department are expected to continue, he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2023.
Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press