Friday, December 26, 2014 - 10:51
Sudan expels Dutch senior diplomat, one other
Sudan has ordered Yvonne Helle, a Dutch national and the country director for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Ali Al-Za'tari from Jordan, UN resident coordinator at the UNDP, to leave the country, the US edition of Reuters reports. This seems to be an escalation of Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's move against UN activities in the country. Helle has been told to leave the country by December 29th, Za-tari has to be gone by January 2nd. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed that the two senior UN officials have been ordered to leave. "The UN has filed a protest with the government of Sudan following their decision to request the departure of two senior UN officials from the country", Dujarric said from New York. Thus far the reason for the departure order is not clear. It comes about a month after Bashir called peace keepers from the joint UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) a "security burden" and called for them to leave. The UNAMID's human rights office in Khartoum has already been shut down and Sudan has told the mission to to prepare an exit plan. UNAMID has been deployed in Darfur since 2007. The conflict in Darfur started in 2003. Mostly African tribes decided to take up arms against the government in Khartoum for discriminating against them. According to the head of the UN peacekeeping forces, UNAMID is unlikely to leave as the situation there seems to be worsening, Reuters reports.