October 26th, 2006 12:20 EST
Sudan: Annan confers with UN envoy Pronk after Government demands his withdrawal
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today conferred with his Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, whose removal has been demanded by the Sudanese Government, and a United Nations spokesman said the envoy still remains in his post. The talks are expected to continue later today or tomorrow.
“As far as we are concerned his status remains unchanged,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the regular noon briefing, when asked about a comment by Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Mohamad that Mr. Pronk was history.
“He remains the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, having been recalled for consultations. But obviously the decision regarding Mr. Pronk, as the decision regarding any Special Representative of the Secretary-General, is the Secretary-General’s to make.”
Asked if the plan would be for Mr. Pronk to work from outside Sudan if he is to stay in place and the Sudanese Government doesn’t change its position, Mr. Dujarric replied: “We need to take things one step at a time… The Secretary-General had a meeting this morning with Mr. Pronk. They ran through the situation and they’ll probably have more discussions either later this afternoon or tomorrow.”
On Monday, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hédi Annabi protested to Mr. Mohamad over the Sudanese Government’s decision. Mr. Annan received the Government’s letter on Sunday and requested Mr. Pronk to come to New York for consultations.
As Special Representative Mr. Pronk oversees the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) set up in 2005 to support a peace agreement between the Government and rebel forces in Southern Sudan. In August this year the Security Council expanded its mandate to include deployment to the western Darfur region to support the “early and effective implementation” of a peace accord with some of the rebels there.
But the Sudanese Government has rejected any UN deployment in Darfur, where at least 200,000 people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict and more than 2 million others have been displaced. At present the UN supports an African Union mission in the region.
UNMIS has some 10,250 uniformed personnel in Sudan out of a total of up to 27,300 mandated when the Council expanded its mission in August.