Sudan has notified the United Nations that it has declared Volker Perthes, the special representative of the UN secretary-general in Sudan and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission, Sudan (UNITAMS), “persona non grata”.
“The Government of the Republic of Sudan has notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it has declared Mr Volker Perthes … persona non grata as of today,” Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
Perthes was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday for a series of diplomatic talks, according to the UN mission’s Twitter feed.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said late last month that he was “shocked” by a letter from Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reportedly requesting the replacement of his special envoy, Perthes.
“[Guterres] is proud of the work done by Volker Perthes and reaffirms his full confidence in his special representative,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement at the time.
Perthes, a former academic who has headed the Sudan mission since 2021, has staunchly defended the UN against accusations of inflaming the conflict, saying those responsible are “the two generals at war”.
Fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since April has ravaged the capital, Khartoum, and the western region of Darfur.
Entire districts of Khartoum no longer have running water, electricity is only available for a few hours each week, and three-quarters of the hospitals in combat zones are not functioning.