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Sudan Partially Suspends UN Aid Operations in Darfur

Sudan's government has ordered a partial suspension of U.N. aid operations in the Darfur region, after accusing the world body of giving a helicopter ride to a rebel leader.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry says a U.N. helicopter picked up the rebel leader Saturday near the town of El-Fasher in central Darfur. The ministry says he led an armed group opposed to a recent peace deal.

The Khartoum government says the suspension order does not include the U.N.'s World Food Program or children's agency, UNICEF.

The Foreign Ministry says the U.N.'s alleged transportation of the rebel leader is a "flagrant violation" of Sudanese sovereignty. It says the partial ban on U.N. operations will remain in effect until the U.N. provides an explanation.

There was no immediate reaction from the United Nations.

The U.N. is conducting one of the world's largest humanitarian operations in Darfur, where a three-year civil war has forced around 2.5 million people to seek shelter in refugee camps.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.