The Pentagon is considering sending a contingent of troops to Port Sudan to help the remaining American citizens amid the war

Washington The United States is considering sending a contingent of troops to Port Sudan to coordinate the departure of American citizens wishing to leave Sudan, US officials told CBS News Monday.

The troops will be part of the Pentagon’s effort to make the more than 500-mile land route between Khartoum and Port Sudan a viable exit for the many thousands of Americans who remain in Sudan.

The United States plans many different courses of action if asked. Among those options is sending some US forces to Port Sudan, although no final decision has been made, according to a US official.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US military is already flying reconnaissance drones near the land route to identify potential threats. Interview on CBS Mornings. And while Kirby stressed that “it is not safe right now to attempt another evacuation,” the Department of Defense is looking for ways for the Americans to find a way out of Sudan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the two Sudanese factions fueling the bloodshed – the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces – had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire, starting at midnight. Blinken said the United States is coordinating with partners and stakeholders “to help establish a committee to oversee negotiations, conclusion and implementation of a permanent cessation of hostilities and humanitarian arrangements in Sudan.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the United States has deployed “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance means to support the overland evacuation routes that Americans use, and we are moving naval assets within the region to provide support. American citizens have begun to arrive in Port Sudan,” and we are helping to facilitate their travel. later. ”

The Pentagon is sending ships off the coast of Port Sudan to help Americans who get there. According to a US official, there is currently only one US Navy ship — a destroyer — in the Red Sea.

“The idea here is to provide those capabilities overseas if we need to, for example, move citizens to another location, if we need to provide medical care, those kinds of things,” said Department of Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Gen. Patrick Ryder said Monday.

A supply ship belonging to the Military Maritime Transport Command is on its way to the Red Sea. The evacuation plan from Port Sudan is still underway, according to US officials, but the most likely scenario is commercial ferries being contracted to take people to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Special Forces, including the elite Navy SEAL Team Six, Evacuated about 87 people – 72 of them are US diplomats – from the US Embassy in Khartoum at the end of the week. The troops traveled 800 miles by helicopter from Djibouti to Khartoum and back, a mission that took 17 hours.

Other countries transferred their citizens from Wadi Sedna Airport, north of Khartoum.

Evacuation efforts continued on Monday as nationals from several countries joined a UN vehicle convoy to make the approximately 525-mile journey from Khartoum to Port Sudan.

Kirby told CBS Mornings that dozens of US citizens were in the UN convoy.

The majority of American citizens in Sudan are dual nationals who have decided to live in Sudan and stay, Blinken said Monday, “but for those who are seeking to leave, we will continue to engage with them directly, to see what we can do — to help them and, as I said, with allies and partners as well to help.” in facilitating their departure.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report said the Pentagon planned to send a contingent of troops to Port Sudan to help the remaining Americans there leave Sudan, but the Defense Department said later Monday that the decision had not yet been finalized.

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