Sudan threatens to expel more UN officials

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti. PHOTO | FILE. 

Khartoum has threatened to take further steps against UN agencies in the country, including expulsion of officials, if they overstep their mandate.

Speaking on Sunday, the country’s minister of foreign affairs, Ali Karti, said that the government will also review budget of the United Nations development Program office in Khartoum to understand their activities in Sudan.

The new threat comes amid intensified row between the UN and the government of Sudan, after two UN envoys were expelled from the country. 

Talking in Khartoum, the minister said that Sudan will not reconsider expulsion of the UN representatives in Sudan despite the UN Secretary General appeal to reverse it.

He said that the envoys had violated their mandate and the Sudan’s constitution.

“The government will repeat such expulsions if necessary against any diplomat or international official who oversteps his or her mandate” the minister warned.

“The move is in line with Sudan’s sovereign rights as outlined by article (9) of Vienna Convention” he added.

Sudanese authorities on Thursday notified the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ali al-Za’atari, to leave the country within a week. That came in less than 24 hours after a similar move against the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director Yvonne Helle.

Zaatari and Helle's expulsion are the latest in a string of incidents with foreign aid and humanitarian workers in Sudan.

In April, the government told the American chief of the UN Population Fund in Sudan to leave for "interfering" in internal affairs.

The UN and international NGOs provide aid to some of the areas of Sudan worst affected by the conflicts wracking its peripheries.

The government is battling an insurgency in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, as well as a protracted conflict in Darfur.

Ethnic insurgents rebelled against Khartoum in 2003 complaining they were being marginalised, and in the intervening 11 years, the UN says some 300,000 people have been killed and two million displaced.

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