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American Diplomatic Withdrawal From Sudan Under Way

February 6, 1996

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The United States has begun withdrawing the 25 diplomats and guards from its embassy in Sudan in line with State Department concerns over increased threats from terrorist groups, a U.S. diplomat said Monday.

Some embassy personnel have left and other U.S. officials are arriving to help with the evacuation, the diplomat said by telephone from the Sudanese capital Khartoum. He spoke on condition of anonymity and refused to give details on the timing of the move.

``There is a flux of people going in and out,″ the diplomat said. ``It will be staged over the coming days.″

The source said diplomats were being flown out of Sudan to various locations. The United States has said it would establish a diplomatic office in the region to handle Sudan but did not specify where.

The State Department announced Wednesday it was withdrawing all Americans from the embassy after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution _ with strong U.S. backing _ that said Sudan was sheltering terrorist groups. The resolution urged Sudan to hand over three suspects in the June assassination attempt in Ethiopia on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

A day after the resolution, the State Department also urged the more than 2,000 American citizens in Sudan to leave. The department cited unspecified threats from terrorist groups for its actions.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Osman Mohamed Taha said the American moves were unjustified and called them an attempt to isolate Sudan’s Islamic fundamentalist government.

U.S.-Sudanese relations have been tense since Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir came to power in a coup in 1989. The State Department put Sudan on its list of terrorism-sponsoring nations in 1993.

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