December 28, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, asserted that his country will not reverse its decision to expel two senior United Nations officials emphasizing that the same measure will be taken against any official who breach their mandate.
The minister’s statements come following a call by the UN chief, Ban-Ki moon, and Britain on Khartoum to reverse its decision to expel the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ali al-Za’atari and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) country director Yvonne Helle.
On Thursday, the Sudanese government asked al-Za’atari to leave the country only less than 24 hours after its decision to give Helle 72 hours to do the same thing.
Karti said in press statements on Sunday that “backing down from expulsion of UN official is out of question”, stressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will not be able to take any measures against his government because the decision is consistent with the UN charter.
He pointed out that they will deal with the UN according to requirements of the national sovereignty, saying Helle carried out actions that harm Sudan’s relations with the UN and its rights in the international body.
“These are facts which the UN secretary general cannot deny”, he added.
On Sunday, al-Youm al-Tali daily newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Helle stopped the “TOKTEN” program this year without consulting the concerned bodies.
TOKTEN, or Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals, is a programme that allows expatriates from programme countries to return home for a period ranging from two weeks to three months to contribute their skills and services to their homeland’s development.
According to the sources, the UN official also has restructured programs in some states at the expense of other states without considering views of Sudanese competent authorities besides cutting the fund of the public expenditure management and planning project in the Red Sea and North Darfur states.
Helle, the same sources say, was not keen to promote foreign aid coordination projects in Sudan, adding that she has also been accused of replacing national cadres at the UNDP by foreign ones.
Karti also said that Sudan has the right to review the amounts of funds allocated to the UNDP and how it is being spent.
“We will observe these funds in the future and we will not allow it to be misplaced in constructing unnecessary buildings or hiring UN officials to appease certain countries”, he added.
He ruled the expulsion decision will negatively impact development projects in Sudan, saying the UN cannot take any measures to hinder these projects or dismiss Sudanese employees working for any of its agencies.
The top diplomat also ruled out the decision could lead to any sort of international isolation, saying they act with confidence and “manhood” to preserve Sudan’s rights.
Sudan Tribune recalls the UNSC will hold a special session on Tuesday to discuss the expulsion decision.
“I don’t say we are indifferent to [the results of the UNSC session] but this is our right and we will not abandon it”, Karti said
Karti added that the UNSC had previously adopted several resolution against Sudan and sometimes in its favor, saying it also issued conciliatory resolutions between Sudan and other parties.
“We strive to avoid an unjust resolution against us. We furnished our [UN] permanent mission with some facts that they will present to the UNSC and has been presented to our friends and to the others as well”, he added
RENEWAL OF UNAMID’S MANDATE
Meanwhile, Karti said the renewal of the mandate of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a “natural thing” because no decision has been made to expel it from the country.
“We agreed the UN strategic evaluation team will return again [to Sudan] after Christmas holidays to discuss ways for the mission’s exit and preparation of the exit strategy”, he said
Earlier this month, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, Rahmatallah Mohamed Osman, renewed to the Security Council Khartoum’s desire to put in place an exit strategy for the UNAMID, adding that no date has been yet set for the mission’s departure.
Addressing the UNSC earlier this month, the head of the UN peacekeeping department, Hervé Ladsous, said that a UN strategic evaluation team was present in Khartoum to discuss the issue.
He added the Sudanese government has clearly established that it is not a matter of asking UNAMID to leave tomorrow but we must reach an agreement on an exit strategy.