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Sudan Orders 2 Senior UN Officials Out of the Country

FILE - Sudan President Omar al-Bashir speaks to the media.

The United Nations says Sudan has ordered two senior U.N. officials to leave the country.

A U.N. spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Thursday that both the U.N. Development Program’s resident coordinator, Ali Al-Za'tari, and the UNDP's country director, Yvonne Helle, were ordered out of Sudan.

Dujarric said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemns the demand for the two officials to leave the country and has called on the government to immediately reverse its decision. It was not clear why the UNDP officials were being expelled.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir recently called for peacekeepers from the UNAMID, the joint U.N.-African Union Mission in Darfur, to leave Sudan, calling them a "security burden."

Sudan also has closed UNAMID's human rights office in Khartoum and called on the mission to prepare an exit plan.

Recently, Sudan denied peacekeepers permission to visit the site of alleged mass rapes by Sudanese soldiers in the Darfur village of Thabit. Darfur is the western region of Sudan plagued by conflict.

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