KHARTOUM, April 9,- Sudan has expelled the head of a United Nations agency in the country and accused her of interfering in domestic affairs, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
Pamela DeLargy, an American who headed the UN’s Population Fund office in Sudan (UNFPA), “was asked to leave”, ministry spokesman Abubakr al Siddiq told AFP.
“Because she was not abiding by the country’s laws, and also because she was interfering in the country’s domestic affairs in a manner that is inconsistent with her status as a UN official,” he said.
“I would also like to confirm that this move has nothing to do with the UNFPA whose missions and programmes are very much appreciated by my government.”
UN officials in Sudan declined to comment.
The incident is the latest involving foreign aid workers in the country.
Khartoum suspended activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sudan from February 1, accusing it of violating guidelines for working in the war-torn country.
Aid workers have also expressed concern about access to the 6.1 million people, more than half of them in the country’s Darfur region, who need humanitarian assistance.
Since late February about 280,000 people in Darfur have been displaced or otherwise affected by fighting in Darfur.
Although access for humanitarian assistance has improved in recent days, during the early stages of this crisis aid agencies were unable to reach many of the affected areas because of violence and insecurity as well as denials of access by the authorities, the UN said.
In Darfur, UNFPA supports reproductive health care services such as emergency obstetrics, and assistance for fistula survivors, the agency says on its website.
Among its other projects, UNFPA has helped train hundreds of village midwives, to aid the country’s severely underfunded health sector.
Siddiq said Sudan “will be more than happy” to receive a replacement for DeLargy, “and will extend to him or her all the necessary assistance and cooperation within the framework of our national laws and agreements that govern relations between the Sudan and UN agencies.”
In 2009 Sudan expelled several international aid groups from Darfur after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir.
He is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in the western region.
DeLargy was one of a very few Americans working for the UN in Sudan.
Washington has had a trade embargo against Khartoum since 1997 over accusations that included human rights violations.