UN envoys ejected for 'offending people: Sudan

Foreign ministry spokesman Yousef al-Kordofani said the government decided to expel Zaatari, a Jordanian, because of comments he made in an interview with a Norwegian newspaper that appeared to criticise the Sudanese people

UN envoys ejected for 'offending people: Sudan

World Bulletin/News Desk

Sudan's Foreign Ministry on Friday said it had asked two UN officials to leave the country because one had "offended" the Sudanese people and another had dealt "arrogantly" with Sudanese officials.

The decision to ask UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ali al-Zaatari to leave had come after he had made statements deemed "offensive to Sudan's people and leadership," the Foreign Ministry said in a Friday statement.

"The statements were made during an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, contradicting his [al-Zaatari's] duties as a high-ranking UN official in Sudan," ministry spokesman Yousef al-Kordofani said in a statement.

"Al-Zaatari was contacted over the issue and given time to produce the recording of his interview with the Norwegian paper on the assumption that he had been misquoted, but he never did [produce the recording]," al-Kordofani said.

Earlier this month, a Norwegian newspaper had quoted al-Zaatari as saying that Sudan was "in humanitarian and economic crisis," going on to describe Sudanese society as "totally dependent on humanitarian aid."

Al-Zaatari also reportedly told the newspaper that the international community was "compelled to deal with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court."

The UN official denied making the statements, insisting that he had been misquoted by the newspaper.

With regards to asking UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle to leave the country, al-Kordofani asserted that Helle was "very prejudiced against the Sudanese government and deals arrogantly with Sudanese officials."

The ministry spokesman added: "She [Helle] had also decided to halt financial and technical support to a number of programs and strategic projects that had served Sudan developmentally, politically and economically, in violation of her role as a UN representative for addressing development issues."

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Sudan's decision to expel the two officials, urging Khartoum to "immediately reverse its decision."

Last month, the Sudanese government unveiled a plan to replace foreign humanitarian workers with Sudanese personnel. It said the plan would go into effect next year after a partnership agreement was reached with the UN to address the country's humanitarian needs.

Around 21 UN-affiliated humanitarian agencies currently operate in Sudan, along with 104 other foreign organizations. The activities of most of these organizations focus on conflict areas, especially those in the southern Darfur region.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Aralık 2014, 11:41

Muhammed Öylek

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