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New York groping debacle ‘serious blow to Sudanese diplomacy’

October 16 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Former Sudanese diplomat to the UN, Hassan Salih, was recalled to Khartoum after allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in a New York bar
Former Sudanese diplomat to the UN, Hassan Salih, was recalled to Khartoum after allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in a New York bar

The allegations of sexual misconduct against a Sudanese diplomat previously stationed at the United Nations in New York, represent a serious blow to Sudanese diplomacy, according to Ambassador Ibrahim Taha Ayoub, former Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga Ayoub said that that “this situation shows what has become of Sudanese diplomats, especially those from outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

As reported by Radio Dabanga last week, Hassan Idriss Ahmed Salih (36), a member of the Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations in New York, was recalled to Khartoum after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman in a New York bar.

Salih was initially pursued and arrested by New York police, but was later released after claiming diplomatic immunity.

This is the second incident in the Big Apple involving a Sudanese diplomat this year, and the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered a full investigation. On January 9 this year, another Sudanese diplomat, Mohammad Abdalla Ali, was charged by New York police with sexual abuse and forcible touching after he rubbed against a woman on a train as it left Grand Central station. Ali was also freed once he proved his diplomatic status provided diplomatic immunity.

In terms of the Vienna Convention, diplomats are given immunity from the host nation’s laws and ‘must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention’.

'Poor conduct'

Ambassador Ayoub explained that “the issue is not just a matter of one person committing a grievous mistake”. He said that Salih is part of a group representing the military “who were brought in to replace people who used to be top of ethics, conduct, and who took into account the diplomatic border that governs their relationship with their colleagues, companions, and diplomats from other countries.’

Ayoug called for “all the elements that have come from the security apparatus to run the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, starting from those who started from scratch, intermediary, or senior jobs, should be removed”.

He asserted that that “the conduct of many those who have come from outside the Foreign Ministry shows disregard for the diplomatic work, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Sudan as a whole”.

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