Annan renews support for envoy expelled by Sudan

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday October 26, 2006

New York- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday reaffirmed his confidence in Jan Pronk, the embattled UN special representative who had been expelled from Sudan for strongly criticizing Khartoum and its armed forces. Pronk, a Dutch diplomat, left Khartoum and arrived at UN headquarters in New York late Wednesday for consultations with Annan.

"The secretary-general has full confidence in Mr. Pronk," said spokesman Stephane Dujarric after Annan met with his envoy. Dujarric said Pronk remains the envoy for Sudan even though he was expelled.

Pronk angered the Sudanese government after he wrote a blog criticizing Khartoum and military leaders for the situation in Darfur region, where the fighting, killing and rape of civilians continued unabated.

Khartoum has asked Annan to appoint a replacement, but there was no immediate sign Annan would do it.

In a letter to Annan earlier this week, Sudan's Foreign Minister Lam Akoi Ajawin accused Pronk of undertaking activities outside his mandate in Sudan. Pronk headed the UN mission in Sudan, which is charged with monitoring the peace agreement between Khartoum and southern Sudan as well as humanitarian efforts in Darfur.

"It is now evident to us that Mr Pronk has actually engaged in activities incompatible with his status and had needlessly and recklessly endangered and undermined the nascent Darfur peace process" in Darfur, Ajawin said.

The conflict in Darfur since 2003 caused the deaths of more than 300,000 people and made more than 2 million refugees. The Darfur peace agreement signed on May 5 has not stopped the fighting in that region.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency