Friday, May 27, 2022

Sudan's Burhan threatens to expel UN mission head

Sudan's Burhan threatens to expel UN mission head

KHARTOUM (AFP) - Sudan's de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan threatened Friday to expel UN special representative Volker Perthes over alleged "interference" in the country's affairs.

Perthes, in an address Monday to the United Nations Security Council, said Sudan was heading towards "an economic and security collapse" unless its civilian-led transition, upended in last year's military coup led by Burhan, was restored.

Perthes also warned of rising crime and lawlessness, killing of anti-coup protesters, violence against women "by members of the security forces" and increased targeting of activists.

Burhan warned Perthes "to stop overstepping the mandate of the UN mission and blatant interference in Sudanese affairs, as that would lead to his expulsion from the country".

He also urged the UN and the African Union (AU) "to facilitate dialogue among Sudanese and avoid overstepping their mandate", in a statement released by the armed forces.

On Thursday, the armed forces' newspaper's chief editor Ibrahim al-Houri, in an article, accused the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan headed by Perthes of "not adhering to the principle of neutrality".

UNITAMS has rejected the charge but insisted it is "not neutral with regard to its commitment to protect human rights, freedoms and democracy".

Regular mass protests have rocked Sudan since the coup, in the face of a violent crackdown by security forces that has so far killed 93 people, according to medics.

Perthes said UNITAMS along with the AU and regional bloc IGAD, have agreed on joint efforts to facilitate Sudanese-led talks.

The Friends of Sudan, a grouping which includes the United States, Britain and the European Union, have also thrown their weight behind latest efforts to facilitate dialogue.

The group has called for the restoration of the civilian-led transition that had followed the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir as it "would pave the way to restore economic assistance and international debt relief".