Senior Indian officials leave for South Sudan

PeacekeepersApproximately 2,000 Indian peacekeepers are serving in the United Nations Mission. (Reuters)

A team of senior Indian officials left on Saturday for Sudan, which is witnessing ethnic conflict that has killed at least 1,000 people so far.

Led by Sandeep Kumar, Joint Secretary (West Asia & North Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs, the team's visit comes a day after the US Embassy in Juba announced that most of the Mission's personnel are being evacuated and the Embassy would now have the bare minimum staff.

Indian officials have already said they have no intention to close down the Indian Mission and will in fact assess if it needs to be further strengthened in the light of key Indian interests in South Sudan.

Meanwhile, all eyes are set on Addis Ababa where the South Sudanese government delegation, led by former Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial, and representatives of Riek Machar are believed to have reached. They would be meeting the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators and are likely to meet each other over the weekend.

Following the visit to South Sudan, the Indian diplomats will travel to Addis Ababa to meet IGAD mediators.

The team will also discuss matters with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Approximately 2,000 Indian peacekeepers are serving in the UNMISS.

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