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On Sudan, UN Email Told Staff, Not Public UNFPA Rep Thrown Out April 7

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9, updated -- The UN's silence when its officials are thrown out of a country has continued this week, in Sudan. After the UN informed some of its own staff, but not the press or public, it was the Sudanese Foreign Ministry which first disclosed the expulsion. The UN side of the story is awaited.

  In an internal UN e-mail leaked early on April 8 to Inner City Press by a recipient, the UN's Resident Coordinator in Khartoum, Ali Al-Za'atari, had informed that

"Pam Delargy, the UNFPA Representative in Sudan, has been forced to leave Sudan by the goverment. Pam departed Khartoum in the early hours of this morning. The clear reasons for the government decision are still unknown. Indeed, since Pam's return in the first week of March 2014 she has been performing her task and taking it forward. In meetings and several events she has had with several government authorities assurances of continued cooperation were reiterated. What was ever thought to be an issue was made clear has no longer become an issue."

  Given this last-quoted cryptic line, Inner City Press has asked the two top spokespeople at UNFPA for comment. None has yet been received, but will be published when it is. [See below.]

   It is said it may be addressed at the upcoming April 9 UN noon briefing. But that has been called into question of  late, particularly on Sudan: see April 8 briefing video, here.

   Sudan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abubakr al-Siddiq said, "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."

  The internal UN e-mail leaked to Inner City Press continued:

"Her stay in Sudan was as such expected till she ends her assignment the normal way. On Friday night however, and to our shock, I was verbally informed of the government decision requesting Pam to leave by 7 April. All verbal and written attempts to rescind the decision or obtain an extension continued on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but failed. I shows that our best efforts to build trust and relations can be dashed aside and for reasons not entirely clear. Let me assure you that Pam's dedication to and love for Sudan is exemplary. Her work to serve the Sudanese and their best interests is superbly appreciated. I, like you, will miss her active and wise presence in Sudan. Best, Ali Al-Za'atari, UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative, Khartoum, Sudan."

  As noted, Inner City Press has requested comment from UNFPA's two top spokespeople and will publish it upon receipt.

Update: after 5 pm on April 9, UNFPA spokesperson Omar Gharzeddine provided this:

Hi Matthew, Here's UNFPA's statement on the Sudan issue: "The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Khartoum, Sudan was notified by the Government of Sudan that the UNFPA Representative had been requested to leave the country at a short notice. A press release by the Sudanese Government has been issued to this effect. We regret this decision and are in communication with the United Nations Country Team in Sudan to seek further clarification on this matter. We hope that we would very soon be able to continue and re-establish normal relationships with the Government of Sudan."

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