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Sudan expels senior UN officials

Sudan expels senior UN officials
Sudan has ordered two senior United Nations officials to leave, a UN spokesman said on Thursday, after a recent escalation in tensions between Khartoum and the peacekeeping mission in Darfur.  The UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator, Ali Zaatari, along with the UN Development Programme country director, Yvonne Helle, have been asked to leave, said a UN staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, said a protest had been lodged.  “The UN has filed a protest with the government of Sudan following their decision to request the departure of two senior UN officials from the country,” Mr Dujarric told AFP. 

He said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, “condemns” the move and urged Sudan to “immediately” reverse the decision and co-operate with UN entities in the country.  “The sanctioning of United Nations personnel sent to Sudan to carry out their duties in accordance with the United Nations Charter is unacceptable,” added Mr Dujarric. It was unclear clear why the UN officials were asked to leave, or when they would have to exit the country. The UN staffer declined to provide further details. 

The UNDP and Sudanese foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Mr Zaatari, a Jordanian national, had been in Sudan for nearly two years, and Ms Helle, who is from the Netherlands, had spent about a year heading the UNDP’s office in the country.  The expulsions come as Sudan’s government is locked in a dispute with the hybrid UN-African union mission in Darfur. 

Ties between the two have frayed over Khartoum’s anger at Unamid’s attempts to investigate a report that government troops raped 200 women and girls in a village in the war-torn western region on October 31. 
Agencies

Agencies

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