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Pronk Will Serve Out Term As Top Envoy For Sudan

Annan Confirms Pronk Will Serve Out His Term As Top Envoy For Sudan

New York, Oct 27 2006 4:00PM

Jan Pronk will continue to serve as the top United Nations envoy for Sudan until the end of the year, when his contract is set to expire, despite the Sudanese Government’s demand for his removal, but he will return to Khartoum next month to organize a smooth handover to an interim officer, a UN spokesman announced today.

“The Secretary-General has made it clear that he alone can decide on the tenure of his Special Representatives,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. “However, he also realizes that at a critical time in the Darfur negotiations, it is important that we preservῥ a good working relationship with the Government of Sudan and he is certain the officer in charge, Taye Zeriho῵n, will be able to provide this.

Mr. Annan protested against the Sudanese decision to President Omer Hassan al-Bashir and “has reiterated his full confidence in Jan Pronk,” the statement added.

As Mr. Annan’s Special Representative, Mr. Pronk oversees the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) set up in 2005 to support a peace agreement between the Government and rebel forces in Southern Sudan. In August this year the Security Council expanded its mandate to include deployment to the western Darfur region to support the “early and effectivῥ implementation of a peace accord with some of the rebels there.

“Following ongoing consultations with the Sudanese authorities, it is expected that Mr. Pronk will return to Khartoum during November to organize an orderly handover to the Officer-in-Charge of the UN Mission, before returning to New York for debriefings and the completion of his mission,” the statement said.

Mr. Annan received a letter from the Sudanese Foreign Minister on Sunday, stating that the Government considered Pronk’s mission as “terminated” and requested his departure within 72 hours. Mr. Annan then asked the envoy to come to New York for consultations, which began yesterday and continued today.

The Sudanese Government has rejected the expansion of UNMIS to Darfur, where at least 200,000 people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict between Government forces, allied militias and rebels seeking greater autonomy, and more than 2 million others have been displaced. At present the UN assists an African Union mission in the region.

UNMIS has some 10,250 uniformed personnel in Sudan out of a total of up to 27,300 mandated when the Council expanded the mission.

Ends

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