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Tensions Mount Between United Nations and Sudan


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he plans to speak with Sudan's president following the aborted trip of a U.N. official to Darfur.

Mr. Annan's office issued a statement Tuesday saying he regrets that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's government did not permit U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland to visit the war-torn region.

Sudan's charge d'affaires in its New York-based U.N. mission tells VOA the incident is a misunderstanding. He says the Sudanese government issued a visa for Egeland's visit this week, but then asked him to postpone the trip for security reasons.

Egeland says the Sudanese government barred him from visiting Darfur and Sudan's capital, Khartoum. Tuesday, his office said Sudan refused to allow him to fly over the Darfur region on his way to visit refugee camps in Chad.

Egeland's spokeswoman told VOA Tuesday that he is cutting short his planned five-day trip to the region, and is instead flying to Paris to attend meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Egeland said he believes the Sudanese government does not want him to see how bad the situation in Darfur has become.

Egeland is in charge of U.N. humanitarian relief for the displaced. He said Sudan's latest move reflects the decline in UN, Sudanese relations over the proposed deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur.

Three years of fighting between rebels, government forces and Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias in Darfur has killed an estimated 180,000 people and left another two million homeless.

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