Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Interview with Steve Inskeep of NPR’s “Morning Edition”

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 25, 2023


QUESTION: Linda Thomas Greenfield, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador, welcome back to the program.

AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you, Steve. Happy to be here.

QUESTION: Okay, I was trying to update myself. I looked up Khartoum ceasefire, and the first article that came up was about a failed ceasefire from several days ago. Could this one be any better?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We’re hoping this is better. As you know, Secretary Blinken and others negotiated a 72-hour ceasefire, but what we really are working toward is getting both parties to agree to implement a sustained nationwide ceasefire and go back to the negotiating table.

QUESTION: The fact that Secretary Blinken and others were involved maybe get to this next question: U.S. diplomats have had to shut down the embassy temporarily, they’re getting out of there. Yesterday we had Timothy Carney on the program, former U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, who said it was a mistake for U.S. diplomats to leave Sudan in the 1990’s. And he said this time, quote, there had better be some diplomats who stayed in order to do what needs to be done. Do you have people on the ground who can communicate and make a difference?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We’re going to continue our intense efforts. at senior levels to engage with both parties and push them to the negotiating table. This is just a temporary suspension of operations, and we fully intend to resume those operations as soon as it’s safe for us to do so. We’re committed to Sudan. We were committed when Ambassador Carney was evacuated back in 1996 and was working from Nairobi and continuing to engage with the parties. We will continue to do that.

QUESTION: Maybe you wouldn’t want to say whether somebody is exactly on the ground or not. But do you have every number you need – you can reach anybody you need to reach to do what you need to do?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We can reach anyone we need to reach, and we have been doing that.

QUESTION: Give me a picture of how many U.S. citizens want out of the country. We’ve seen the number of 16,000 I would presume that some people choose to stay, how many people want out and what can you do for them?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I don’t know the exact number who have expressed an interest in leaving, but we’re committed to supporting those who want to leave. The President has directed our security and other forces to provide intel and overhead surveillance. There have been some overland convoys that we’ve provided assistance to, but people have to be able to do that in safety. And we’re encouraging them to make sure that the situation is safe before they attempt any efforts to depart.

QUESTION: I’m interested when you say overhead surveillance. What exactly do you mean by that?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, we’re watching the situation on the ground, as we did during the evacuation of a 1,000 people by the United Nations yesterday, to make sure that if we see any danger, we can advise them of what we’re seeing.

QUESTION: Are U.S. military forces in position to act if there were some emergency that called for that?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I can’t address that but we’re certainly monitoring the situation very closely.

QUESTION:  Ambassador, it’s always a pleasure talking with you. Thank you very much for the update this morning. Really appreciate it.