UAE rejects allegations claiming Emirati passports found 'on Sudan battlefield'

The four UAE nationals, whose names were dragged into the issue, arrived in Sudan well before the conflict and were even welcomed by the authorities for their charitable endeavours


Kirstin Bernabe

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Published: Fri 28 Jun 2024, 1:47 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 Jun 2024, 11:30 PM

The UAE has strongly denied allegations of Emirati involvement in the ongoing conflict in Sudan, calling them "outright fabrications" and "mischaracterisations".

Issued on Thursday, the country's statement to the UN Security Council comes after the Sudanese representative to the global body sent a letter on June 10, claiming that Emirati passports had been found "on the battlefield" — among other accusations.

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The UAE, however, pointed out loopholes in the argument, stressing that the images "do not depict passports".

"Rather, they are photographs of scans or photocopies of the data pages of six passports, some of which are clearly expired, and some of which are passports from another country," read the statement.

Defamatory statements

The four Emiratis whose names were dragged into the issue "have travelled to Sudan well before the conflict".

In fact, these UAE nationals were previously welcomed by the Sudanese authorities for their "charitable endeavours and attempts to build business links between two brotherly nations", the statement added.

"These individuals regard this allegation of involvement in the conflict as defamatory ... and they reserve their right to take legal action," it said.

It is also impossible for the passports to be found "on the battlefield" because the Emiratis in question have their respective passports in their possession, the UAE said.

The Sudanese envoy also said phones "with Etisalat logo and markings" were found — but these, too, were insufficient to prove anything.

"The photographs of phones in the Sudanese representative’s 10 June 2024 letter are commercial phones that were widely sold," the UAE said in its statement. "These models are obsolete civilian phones that are no longer in production. The ‘Etisalat’ logo and markings which appear on some of the phones are old—dating from before the year 2000—and are no longer used by the company."

Supplying weapons?

Since the civil war in the African nation took centre stage at the UN, Sudan and the UAE have clashed over allegations saying the Emirates is providing weapons and support to a rival warring party in the country's 14-month conflict.

The UAE has rubbished such statements multiple times and, in its latest letter, the country reiterated its stance.

"The allegations made by the Sudanese representative regarding the supply of arms and military equipment are part of a duplicitous media disinformation campaign by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)," it said.

"These are patently false, and the images shared by the Sudanese representative do not support—and even contradict—his baseless claims."

The truth is that prior to the conflict, the UAE has provided military assistance to Sudan at the request of its government. The cooperation between the two countries has included various forms of support provided between 2019 and 2021.

"The Sudanese Government received 30 unarmed armoured vehicles from the UAE, which were delivered to Sudan two months before the start of the conflict," the statement said

"The transfer of these vehicles was authorised by the Military Attache’s office of the Embassy of Sudan in the UAE, and they were received by the Ministry of Defence. The UAE provided this assistance in good faith with the understanding that it was for the defence of Sudan."

In solidarity with Sudan

Despite the issues, the UAE said it will not waiver in its longstanding support to the people of Sudan.

"[The country] will continue to work with the international community in pursuit of a peaceful resolution to this devastating conflict," the UAE Mission to the UN said.

War erupted in April last year between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over a transition to free elections. The UN says nearly 25 million people — half Sudan's population — need aid, famine is looming and some eight million people have fled their homes.

Amid the crisis, the UAE has sought to help meet the humanitarian needs of the Sudanese people.

It established two field hospitals near the Chad-Sudan border, which have become a critical lifeline for those in need of medical care.

Recently, the UAE pledged $70 million in aid, on top of the initial $130-million humanitarian package it has provided since April 2023.

The UAE also called for an immediate ceasefire.

"There is no military solution to this conflict. The war has to end. We urge the warring parties to immediately stop the fighting, put down their arms, join the Jeddah talks process, and negotiate in order to create a path towards a representative, civilian-led government," it said.


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