Sudanese government says UN envoy, mediator in conflict, no longer welcome

CAIRO (AP) — The United Nations envoy to Sudan, a key mediator in the country’s brutal conflict, is no longer welcome in the African country, according to Sudanese authorities.

A terse statement released by Sudan’s foreign ministry on Thursday evening comes just weeks after the country’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, asked in a letter to envoy Volker Perthes that he be dismissed. of his functions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has been told that Perthes has been officially declared “persona non grata”, the Foreign Ministry said.

Since April 15, the Sudanese army, led by Burhan, and paramilitary rapid support forces, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, have been locked in a violent power struggle that has killed more than 860 civilians, according to the Syndicate. Sudanese doctors tracking down civilian casualties. The actual number of deaths is likely to be much higher.

Perthes has been a key mediator in Sudan since his appointment as special envoy in 2021, first during the country’s failed attempts to transition to democracy and then when relations between the military and the RSF soured. The fighting exploded last month.

Neither the UN nor Volker immediately commented.

In recent months, the German diplomat has received death threats and numerous calls for his resignation. In his letter last month, Burhan accused Perthes of “being partisan” and contributing negatively to pre-war talks between generals and pro-democracy groups in the weeks leading up to the conflict.

In response to the allegations, Volker told The Associated Press that those threatening him were fringe “extremists” and that there is wide appreciation for the efforts of the UN in Sudan, which moved its headquarters to the coastal city of Port Sudan.

The conflict between the two generals has reduced Khartoum to an urban battlefield, with many parts of the city without running water or electricity. Widespread looting and sexual violence, including the rape of women and girls, have been reported in Khartoum and the western Darfur region, which has seen some of the worst fighting in the conflict. Almost all of the reported cases of sexual assault have been blamed on RSF, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

On Wednesday, 297 children were rescued from an orphanage in the Sudanese capital after being trapped there as fighting raged outside, UNICEF said. The evacuation came after 71 children died of starvation and disease at the facility since mid-April.

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