Sudan attacks UN over rebel leader's flight
|Xan Rice, 26 Juin 2006|
Sudan has suspended the work of all UN missions in Darfur except the World Food Programme and Unicef after alleging that a rebel leader flew aboard a UN aircraft.
Jamal Mohamed Ibrahim, Sudan's foreign affairs spokesman, said the ban would apply until the government is told why Suleiman Adam Jamous, who opposes a recent peace deal, was allowed to board a UN helicopter on Saturday.
"The authorities were not consulted, no permission was asked for and it was clear negligence," Mr Ibrahim said, describing the incident as a "flagrant violation" of Sudan's sovereignty.
The UN coordinates the humanitarian effort in Darfur, home to 2 million displaced people. Any limits on its work would have serious consequences on the ground. A spokeswoman for the UN presence in Sudan said she had no official confirmation from the government of the ban. She refused to say whether Mr Jamous was picked up from between El Fasher and Musbat in north Darfur.
Mr Jamous used to be the humanitarian coordinator for the Sudan Liberation Army before it split last year. He remains opposed to the peace deal signed by the SLA faction headed by Minnie Arcua Minawi and the government in May.
The suspension marks a further souring of relations between the UN and Khartoum. It was thought that president Omar el Bashir would allow the UN to take over the under-resourced African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur once a peace deal was signed. But despite intense international pressure Mr el Bashir has refused to allow UN troops in to monitor the agreement.