News story | Date: 18/04/2023 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘It is extremely serious that the ambassador’s residence in Khartoum was hit by a shell on Sunday. We have communicated our deep concern about the extremely dangerous situation for diplomats in Khartoum to the Sudanese Government. We are asking the Sudanese authorities to take the necessary steps to fulfil their duty to protect diplomatic personnel,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
The Norwegian ambassador was not injured but there was significant damage to the residential property. The residence of another Norwegian diplomat was struck by gunfire both yesterday and today. The diplomat who lives there is currently in Norway, but a guard on the property was slightly injured. Norway currently has three diplomats posted in Khartoum.
‘The situation in Sudan is volatile and very dangerous. The current lack of adequate protection for our diplomatic personnel is a grave violation of the Vienna Convention. We are very worried about the safety of our employees and are doing everything we can to help them in this difficult situation. They are in a safe shelter and are doing well under the circumstances. The Ministry has been put on the highest alert and is working to get its posted employees out of the country, but this has not been possible so far,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
‘I am deeply concerned about reports of looting and assault by personnel representing RSF, including an attempted entry into the Norwegian Embassy compound. All armed groups are obliged to protect civilians, diplomatic and humanitarian personnel, ’ Ms Huitfeldt said.
There are approximately 40 individuals with connections to Norway registered as present in Sudan. Registration is not mandatory so this is not an exact figure. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to get an overview of the full number. At present, we recommend that all Norwegian citizens in Sudan stay indoors and do not try to travel.
There are airstrikes and fighting in the streets, and the airport is closed. The situation is unpredictable, and it is not currently possible to provide assistance to Norwegian citizens seeking to evacuate. Norwegian citizens who would like assistance or contact with the Norwegian authorities are urged to register on the travel information portal www.reiseregistrering.no or in the Ministry’s app Reiseklar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: +47 23 95 00 00.
‘Norway strongly condemns the violence that is now raging in Sudan. We mourn the innocent lives that have been lost since the fighting broke out and strongly urge the responsible leaders to do their utmost to prevent further loss of life. We also actively encourage the parties to accept and respect proposals by the UN and international partners for a 24-hour ceasefire to ensure humanitarian access to those in need, to enable families to gather together and to enhance the security of our diplomatic personnel and representatives of other international organisations in Khartoum. The efforts to find political solutions to the challenges facing Sudan must be resumed in order to bring about a process to transition towards a civilian-led government. I urge SAF and RSF to accept and implement Cessation of Hostilies for 24 hours and respect humanitarian law’, said Ms Huitfeldt.
Facts about the Vienna Convention
- Under the Vienna Convention the receiving state is under a special duty to ensure the protection of embassies in the country.
- The receiving state also has a special duty to protect diplomatic personnel and the premises of the mission, including the residences of diplomatic personnel.
- In the event of armed conflict, the receiving state also has a duty to provide the necessary help required for diplomatic personnel and their families to leave the country as soon as possible.
- The receiving state must also provide the necessary means of transport for diplomatic personnel.
- More information about the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations can be found here: Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 (un.org)