Home | News    Thursday 7 December 2006

Expelled UN envoy returns to Sudan for handover

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Dec 7, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The outgoing top U.N. envoy to Sudan, expelled in October, will return to Khartoum on Thursday to hand over his duties to his chief assistant, the United Nations said.

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Jan Pronk

Sudan told Jan Pronk he was persona non grata in October after he wrote on a personal Web site that the Sudanese army had lost two major battles to rebels in the war-torn Darfur region and that its morale was low.

"The visit has been organised with full consultation with the government of Sudan and with its agreement," said Radhia Achouri, the U.N. spokeswoman in Sudan.

She said the visit would last four days, during which Pronk would hand over his responsibilities to Taye-Brook Zerihoun and say goodbye to U.N. staff. He will also visit the U.N. mission in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, Achouri said.

Days after his expulsion, Pronk told the U.N. Security Council that the Sudanese government had violated a May peace agreement by renewing aerial bombing attacks and mobilising militias accused of atrocities in Darfur.

Khartoum denies the charges.

The peace deal has failed to stop the violence in Darfur, where experts estimate around 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced. The conflict began in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the central government, charging it with neglect.

(Reuters)

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