Sudan’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dafallah El Haj Ali, summoned Volker Perthes, UN Special Representative for Sudan and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) on Wednesday afternoon, after statements by Perthes regarding the Marches of The Millions taking place across Sudan today.
Ambassador Ali conveyed to Perthes “the dissatisfaction of the government of Sudan with the media statements that he gave regarding the expected demonstrations on Thursday, June 30, 2022,” the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, in statements via social media on Tuesday, Perthes called on the Sudanese authorities to stay committed to the right of peaceful gathering and freedom of expression. He appealed to everyone to “not to give any opportunity to spoilers who want to escalate tensions in Sudan”.
The SUNA report says that the undersecretary pointed out that Perthes’s statements were “based on pre-conceived rulings and assumptions on conviction of the law enforcement organs in the country,” saying that it is “a matter that contradicts his role as a facilitator who is expected to bring the views closer and work to achieve the reconciliation that everyone aspires to.”
The Undersecretary pointed out that “such statements are unacceptable because they refer guardianship and prejudice national sovereignty,” stressing that “the government of Sudan respects the right of the freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration,” and that that “the law enforcement authorities, represented by the Public Prosecution and the police, play their role in protecting life and property, in accordance with their duties that are stipulated in the law”.
Relations between the government of Sudan and UNITAMS have been strained recently, following biefings by Perthes to the UN Security Council (UNSC) about Sudan’s deteriorating economic, humanitarian, and security situation.
Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time that UNITAMS “should focus on the other basic aspects of its mandate, instead of focusing most of its activities on only the political side”.
The head of Sudan’s ruling junta, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, subsequently threatened to expel Perthes from Sudan, accusing him of “overstepping the mandate of the UN mission” and interfering in Sudanese affairs.
In May, UNITAMS expressed disappointment after the Sudan junta decided not to renew the residence visa of Dame Rosalind Marsden, a senior expert working with the UN in Sudan and a senior consultant to the UN in Sudan since July 2021.