Foreign diplomats expelled from Sudan

SUDAN has expelled European and Canadian diplomats for “interfering in its affairs”.

“Sudan has summoned the envoy of the European Commission and the Canadian chargé d’affaires and informed them they were considered persona non grata because they interfered in Sudanese affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadek told the SUNA news agency.

The European Commission which named the EU’s head of delegation in Khartoum as Kent Degerfelt of Sweden, said it was trying to resolve the matter but refused to elaborate.

Commission spokeswoman Antonia Mochan told reporters in Brussels that Degerfelt, who has worked in EU development aid offices for several years, was currently on holiday.

An official with the European Commission office in Khartoum said the EU did not know whether Degerfelt would be allowed back in the country.

Canada has demanded an explanation from Khartoum.

On July 31, the Security Council approved deployment of a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force to Darfur after Khartoum finally relented on months of opposition to the involvement of UN troops and police.

Alongside the deployment, Khartoum had been expected to join new peace talks with Darfur rebel groups that had been tentatively scheduled for October.

The United Nations estimates that at least 200,000 people have died and more than two million fled their homes since the conflict erupted in February 2003.

The Arab-dominated regime in Khartoum responded with a scorched earth campaign against ethnic minority villages in Darfur after the rebels took up arms against its rule.

A report by a UN Human Rights Council mission in February accused Sudan of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur.

The United Nations imposed an embargo on the sale and delivery of arms to Darfur in July 2004 which was extended in March 2005.

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