El Burhan demands replacement of UN special representative in Sudan

Volker Perthes, head of UNITAMS, interviewed by Radio Dabanga in Port Sudan, May 16 (Photo RD)


Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and President of the Sovereignty Council on Friday morning requested UN Secretary-General António Guterres to replace Volker Perthes, UN Special representative in Sudan and head of UNITAMS. The spokesperson for the Secretary-General said Guterres was “shocked” by the request.  

In a four-page letter, El Burhan commends the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) in early 2021, after the UN Security Council decided to establish the mission in June the year before.

However, the “transparent and just functioning of UNITAMS has been lost, due to the performance and personal disposition of the head of the mission and mediators from outside the mission”.

El Burhan further gives a number of examples of “the strange behaviour” of Perthes during the transitional period, in his reactions to the political developments in Sudan since his arrival in Sudan in February 2021, and concludes the letter with the request to replace the envoy.

In a short statement on Friday, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said that Guterres was “shocked” by the request to remove his envoy in Sudan.

“The Secretary-General is proud of the work done by Volker Perthes and reaffirms his full confidence in his Special Representative,” Dujarric stated.

In an interview earlier this month, Perthes told Radio Dabanga that since the outbreak of the war between the SAF and the paramilitary RSF on April 15, he is in constant communication with both parties to the conflict, including El Burhan and RSF leader Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo.