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Sudan expels U.N. envoy for blog

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KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- The government of Sudan on Sunday gave the top U.N. official in the country three days to leave, marking the latest hurdle in international efforts to bring peace to the nation torn apart by civil war.

Sudan expelled Jan Pronk, the top U.N. envoy to Sudan, who has openly criticized Khartoum as well as rebel groups on his Web log.

Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave Pronk a letter addressed to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan saying the government was terminating Pronk's mission and setting the timetable for his departure, said Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the U.N. mission in Sudan.

Achouri said Pronk would forward the letter to Annan and will request that the U.N. chief make "the appropriate decision in this matter."

Annan's office said he was "reviewing the letter" and requested Pronk come to New York "for consultations."

Pronk told Sudan's foreign ministry that all parties involved in the Darfur conflict, including the government, should comply with the Darfur peace agreement, Achouri said.

Two rebel groups, including one of the country's largest, signed a peace agreement in May, although the violence has continued to rage.

A 7,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force has been unable to stop the violence in Darfur, a province in western Sudan.

A U.N. resolution approved on August 31 authorized the creation of a more robust, better-equipped U.N. peacekeeping mission, but Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has refused to accept such a force, saying it would violate his country's sovereignty.

The conflict began three years ago when ethnic African rebels took up arms over what they saw as neglect by the Arab-dominated central government.

The government responded by unleashing Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, who are accused of systematically raping women and pillaging villages. The Bush administration has labeled the crisis a genocide.

An estimated 200,000 have been killed and more than 2 million displaced within Darfur since the conflict began three years ago, according to the United Nations.

U.N. envoy Jan Pronk



Crisis in Sudan
• Gallery: Humanitarian crisis
• Map: Sudan's Darfur region
• Behind the scenes: Amanpour
• Related sites: How to help
• An aid worker's diary
• Special: Crisis in Sudan


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