Sudan’s military leader has threatened to expel UN envoy Volker Perthes, accusing him of “blatant interference” in the country’s affairs.
The comments on Friday by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, head of the ruling Sovereignty Council, came less than a week after Mr Perthes gave a warning that Sudan faces “an economic and security collapse” unless it addresses political paralysis since a coup last year.
Gen Al Burhan led the October 25 coup against a western-backed civilian government that was overseeing a transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military to remove autocratic president Omar Al Bashir in April 2019.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony at a military academy in Khartoum, Gen Al Burhan called on Mr Perthes to “stop exceeding the UN mission’s mandate and blatant interference in Sudanese affairs”.
“We say to him you have a specific mandate, and we said we are open for you to sit in talks, but for you to lie and to try to manage the Sudanese people, we will kick you out,” he told the cheering graduates.
A representative for the UN mission in Sudan declined to comment on Gen Al Burhan’s remarks.
The general also called on the UN and African Union to promote dialogue among Sudanese and “avoid exceeding their mandate and interfering in the country’s affairs”.
He reiterated that the generals “don’t want to rule the country alone” and said they have repeatedly called on protest groups and other political forces to engage in dialogue and achieve “national consensus”.
Mr Perthes is leading international efforts to find a way out of the crisis in Sudan. He told the UN Security Council on Monday that the absence of a political agreement on returning to a transitional path has already led to a deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in the country.
Near-daily street protests to demand a return to civilian rule have been met by a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 90 people, mostly young men, and injured thousands, a Sudanese medical group said.
The protesters are demanding the removal of the military from power. The generals have said they will only hand over power to an elected administration. They say elections will take place in July 2023 as scheduled in a constitutional document governing the transitional period.
Mr Perthes said the UN, the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-nation east African regional group, had agreed to help initiate Sudanese-led political talks.