Sudan announces UN envoy Volker Perthes 'persona non grata'
After being accused of "fraud and disinformation," United Nations envoy Volker Perthes has been declared "persona non grata" by the Sudanese government.
The Sudanese government has announced United Nations envoy Volker Perthes "persona non grata", two weeks after the army chief accused him of stoking the country's ongoing clashes and sought to have him removed from his post.
Since late last year, Sudanese people have staged many protests against Perthes and the UN mission he heads in war-torn Sudan, denouncing perceived foreign meddling in the African country.
Last month, Sudan's army leader, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, accused Perthes of stoking a brutal conflict with paramilitaries in a letter in which he called for replacing Perthes.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has constantly defended Perthes, who earned ire after criticizing both leaders of Sudan's warring parties as the two-month clashes evade efforts to reach a humanitarian truce.
"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 Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
Perthes was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday for a series of diplomatic talks, as per the UN mission's Twitter feed.
SRSG for Sudan @volkerperthes had several meetings today in Addis Ababa.— UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (@UNITAMS) June 8, 2023
He met @parfait_onanga, UN Special Representative to the African Union, and @ismail_wais , IGAD special envoy.
He also gave a diplomatic briefing hosted by@UKinEthiopia. pic.twitter.com/U9mM1jJcpS
When the Security Council decided to prolong the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for just six months last week, it brought to light how precarious the UN's position is in Sudan.
Created in June 2020 to allegedly support Sudan's democratic transition after the fall of Omar Al-Bashir a year earlier, UNITAMS's mandate had formerly been renewed annually for a year.
A deepening humanitarian crisis
The ongoing clashes have so far killed more than 1,800 people, according to the latest figures from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
Meanwhile, the chaos has left millions hunkering down in their homes to find shelters from the bullets and roaming looters amid power blackouts and shortages of water, food, medicines, and other staples.
Fighting between Sudan's rival generals has displaced over one million people within the country since it began on April 15, as per the International Organization for Migration.
Entire districts of Khartoum no longer have running water, electricity is only available for a few hours a week and three-quarters of the hospitals in combat zones are not functioning.
The latest ceasefire was agreed to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid into areas of Sudan ravaged by the fighting, but like all those that preceded, the fragile accord was routinely violated by both sides.
Perthes, a former academic who has led the UN mission in Sudan since 2021, has vehemently denied charges that the UN stoked the crisis, claiming that "the two generals at war" are to blame.
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