UN chief ‘shocked’ by letter from Sudanese military leader asking to replace UN special envoy to Sudan

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was ‘shocked’, according to his spokesperson, by a letter received on Friday from Sudan’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who allegedly called for his envoy to Sudan to be dismissed. of his functions.

“The Secretary-General is proud of the work done by (UN Special Representative to Sudan) Volker Perthes and reaffirms his full confidence in his Special Representative,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

Burhan had written to Guterres demanding that Perthes be removed from office, Reuters reported earlier, citing Sudanese presidential sources.

Weeks of fierce fighting in Sudan between Burhan’s Sudanese Armed Forces and the country’s Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo have left the country in turmoil and dimmed hopes for a peaceful transition to civilian rule. .

Sudanese military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Khartoum on December 5, 2022. – El Tayeb Siddig/Reuters/FILE

Perthes, who was appointed to his post in 2021, expressed deep concern over the dispute. In an address to the UN Security Council earlier this week, he criticized the two leaders of Sudan’s warring parties and warned of “a growing ethnicisation of the conflict”.

“Neither side has yet shown the ability to decisively claim a military victory,” Perthes said.

Despite a seven-day ceasefire currently in place – which is due to expire this weekend – fighting has continued between the two sides. Mediators have recently observed the use of artillery and military aircraft and drones, airstrikes, heavy fighting in the heart of Khartoum’s industrial zone and clashes in Zalingei, Darfur, according to the States Embassy. United in Khartoum.

Addressing the Security Council, Perthes said the responsibility for the fighting “rests with those who fight it daily: the leaders of both sides who share responsibility for choosing to settle their unresolved conflict on the battlefield rather than at the tableā€.

The conflict in Sudan has taken a heavy toll on civilians, with more than 700 people killed, including 190 children, and another 6,000 injured, according to Perthes.

More than a million people have been displaced, seeking refuge in rural areas, in other states in Sudan and across Sudanese borders.

Earlier reporting provided by CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali in Atlanta.

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