Secretary-General Kofi Annan says his envoy to Sudan will keep his job until the end of the year, and may make a symbolic return visit. Sudanese authorities expelled senior envoy Jan Pronk last week after he noted that government forces in Darfur were in disarray. Pronk is leveling fresh charges against Khartoum.
Special envoy Jan Pronk briefed the Security Council Friday on what he called "dire conditions" in Darfur, and on events that led Sudan to expel him.
Pronk was given three days to leave the country last week after noting on his personal website that the Sudanese army had suffered heavy losses in Darfur.
In comments Friday, he accused Sudanese authorities of violating U.N. resolutions by mobilizing Arab militias, known as janjaweed, that have been accused of genocide. He also charged Khartoum with renewed aerial bombardment in violation of a peace agreement.
Pronk rejected Khartoum's contention that he had exceeded his mandate as special U.N. envoy, and said all information on his Web blog was obtained from the Sudanese media.
"It was very well known that soldiers were retreating, not willing to fight. That was public knowledge, that there was low morale, and I said that this resulted in which I deplored very much,in the incorporation of militia and janjaweed in the paramilitary forces, the militia and the janjaweed are not disciplined, they kill. If you steal camels, they kill, in retaliation, babies," he said.
After speaking to Pronk, Secretary-General Annan said he retains full confidence in the envoy. Mr. Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Pronk would keep his job until his contract runs out in December, despite his expulsion, and would make a brief symbolic return to Sudan next month.
"Mr. Pronk will return to Khartoum to organize an orderly handover to the officer in charge of the mission before returning to New York for debriefings, but will remain the special representative until the end of the year," he said.
Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem says Khartoum considers Pronk "history", and accused him of abusive behavior. Speaking to reporters Friday, he did not rule out that Pronk might be allowed to visit Khartoum, but said he would not be recognized as a diplomat.
"We terminated his mandate, his responsibilities as the special envoy of the secretary general. It is our right to do so if somebody is threatening our national interest, and in any other capacity that is a totally different issue, but for us, his functions as special envoy of the secretary-general have ceased to exist," he said.
After Friday's Security Council briefing, the Council president for October, Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima defended Pronk and said there had been wide praise from members for his willingness to speak frankly about the dire conditions in Darfur.
"In a situation such as in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of people have perished. And millions are suffering in dire humanitarian situations, that frankness, that outspokenness can come only from a man who has deep conviction and commitment," he said.
Reports from Darfur indicate fighting has increased sharply in recent weeks. The Security Council is pushing to send a U.N. peacekeeping force to the region to relieve an understaffed African Union force, but Sudanese authorities have blocked the changeover.
More than 200,000 people have died since fighting broke out in 2003 between ethnic minority groups, the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, and its militias. More than two million others have been driven from their homes, many living in camps in neighboring Chad, where conditions are deteriorating.