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Pronk Expulsion Creates Rift in Sudanese Government

  • Noel King

Sudan's decision to expel United Nations envoy Jan Pronk has created a rift within the government. Former southern and Darfuri rebels - now part of Sudan's unity government - say they do not agree with the decision and were not consulted about it.

United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary-General Jan Pronk left Sudan, Monday, after his mission was terminated by the Sudanese government.

Pronk drew the ire of the government by writing on his personal website that the Sudanese Army is demoralized after losing two key battles against rebels in Darfur.

Partners in Sudan's unity government say the ruling National Congress Party expelled Pronk without their consent.

Mohamed Bashir - a spokesman for Darfur's Sudan Liberation Movement, which signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government in May - called the decision a failure on the part of the ruling party.

"No matter what Mr. Pronk does or says, he represents the UN and not himself," he said. "Under the circumstances any decision against him should be done after a wider consultation, at least within the Government of National Unity and take into consideration the ongoing difficulty between Sudan and the UN."

The former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, which commands an autonomous government in southern Sudan, has also said it was not consulted about the decision.

SPLM representatives were not available for comment. But, according to news reports, top southern officials have condemned the decision to expel Pronk.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the National Congress Party and the SPLM has long been marred by tensions over wealth and power sharing.

Southern analyst Abendego Akok, of the Juba University Center for Peace and Justice Studies, says the decision to expel Pronk may further exacerbate tensions between northern Sudan and its former southern foes.

"The NCP has a larger share in the government. They can take any decision without referring to any partner," he said. "The transitional government, if they want to take decisions, they should consult the others before they take any decisions because this will widen the gap between them."

The United Nations stands behind Pronk, saying it still considers him to be the secretary-general's representative to Sudan.

Pronk was a vocal critic of the actions of both the Sudanese Government and rebels in Darfur, in the wake of continuing violence in the region.

In recent weeks, he has suggested the Darfur Peace Agreement is on the verge of collapse.

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