Panetta: Sudan nixes Marine team at U.S. Embassy

Sudan has denied the U.S. permission to deploy a team of Marines to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum to protect personnel and property, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said.

“When we do this, it is a requirement that the country that we deploy our forces to provide permission for us to be able to go in. And in regard to the Sudanese, my understanding is that they felt they could provide sufficient security to be able to protect our embassy and personnel there,” Mr. Panetta told reporters traveling with him Saturday to Asia.

The primary responsibility for protecting U.S. embassies usually rests with the host country, he said.

Sudan’s decision comes as the State Department has ordered the departure of nonemergency personnel from Sudan and Tunisia after anti-American protests continued in both countries in response to an a film produced by an American that denigrates Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

Late Tuesday, armed protesters overran Libyan forces protecting a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi and set fire to the compound, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

The Pentagon since has deployed teams of Marines to protect the U.S. embassies in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, where demonstrators tried to breach the U.S. facility late last week. The Pentagon also has sent to two ships to the coast of Libya.

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