Volker Perthes, a UN envoy, was declared as ‘persona non grata’ by Sudan, the news agency AFP reported.

The ministry in a statement said, “The Government of the Republic of Sudan has notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it has declared Mr. Volker Perthes … persona non grata as of today”, on Thursday.

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The development comes weeks after Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan accused Perthes of aggravating the country’s strife and demanded his withdrawal.

Who is Volker Perthes?

Volker Perthes is a political scientist and diplomat from Germany. He specializes in international relations, particularly those pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa. Perthes has held a variety of posts and has been involved in a number of research projects and initiatives concerning conflict resolution, regional dynamics, and German foreign policy.

Perthes has also participated in diplomatic initiatives, including acting as the UN Special Envoy for Syria in 2020. He was designated Special Representative (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of the newly constituted UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) by the UN Secretary-General in 2021. 

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He also held mediation negotiations with significant personalities such as generals Abdel Fattah al Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, as well as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk. Notably, these meetings took occurred during a critical juncture in Sudan, when Prime Minister Hamdouk was under house arrest following the coup.

According to a tweet from the UN mission’s Twitter feed, Volker Perthes engaged in a series of diplomatic discussions in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday.

Last month, Burhan wrote a letter to the United Nations, where he accused Perthes of worsening the conflict between the army and the paramilitaries. He also accused the Envoy of disrespecting national sovereignty.

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Perthes has the backing of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and members of the UN Security Council. However, the Security Council approved last week to extend the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) mandate for only six months.