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Sudan declares UN envoy 'persona non grata'

June 9, 2023

The move comes after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan accused Volker Perthes of inflaming the fighting between the warring factions in Sudan.

Volker Perthes, the UN secretary-general s special representative and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, speaks at a Security Council meeting on Sudan at the UN headquarters in New York, on May 24, 2022.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has stood by Perthes through the backlashImage: Eskinder Debebe/UN/Xinhua/IMAGO

Sudan has declared Volker Perthes, the representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UNITAMS mission, persona non grata.

"The Government of the Republic of Sudan has notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it has declared Mr. Volker Perthes ... persona non grata as of today," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Perthes was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday for a series of diplomatic talks, according to the UN mission's Twitter feed. 

Perthes faced backlash before 

Perthes has been a key mediator in Sudan, first during the country's unsteady attempts to transition to democracy and then after worsening tensions between Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) exploded into open fighting in April.

He had drawn the ire of the leaders of both factions in the war-torn country after criticizing them while they failed to maintain a ceasefire.

Sudan's Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan previously accused the envoy of stoking the country's conflict. In May he wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, asking Perthes be removed.

He further accused Perthes of not respecting the country's "national sovereignty." Guterres has stood by Perthes.

However, last week, the Security Council voted to extend the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission (UNITAMS) in Sudan's mandate for a mere six months compared to a typical one-year term. 

UNITAMS was created in June 2020 for the peaceful and democratic transition of power in Sudan after the fall of Islamist-military ruler Imar-al-Bashir a year before.

Fighting leaves Khartoum residents struggling to survive

mk/lo (AFP, Reuters)