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UK foreign secretary cuts New Zealand visit short over Sudan crisis

Fighting in Khartoum, Sudan rages on as death toll rises.PIX: Aljazeera

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Friday he had cut short a visit to New Zealand to return to London to address the spiralling conflict in Sudan.

More than 300 people have died since fighting broke out in the African nation last weekend between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

“It’s with real regret that due to the ongoing situation in Sudan I’ve had to cut the visit short,” Cleverly said in a statement by the British foreign office.

Cleverly had originally been scheduled to briefly visit New Zealand from Friday to Saturday.

He had arrived in Wellington on Thursday, a day ahead of schedule, as part of a Pacific nations tour, having already skipped a planned stop in Samoa.

He was now returning to oversee Britain’s response to “the violence” in Sudan, “including support to our staff on the ground and consular services for British nationals”, the British foreign office said.

Cleverly added that he plans to reschedule his visit to New Zealand.

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