The Sudanese government threatened to end the UN mission in the war-torn country if Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ envoy briefed the Security Council, the US said on Wednesday.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s UN envoy, said it “was really outrageous” for Sudan to jeopardize the mission because of Volker Perthes’ planned briefing Wednesday.
Assistant Secretary General Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee briefed the Council in his stead after his name was removed at the last minute, said Thomas-Greenfield, who serves as the Council president for August.
“No country should be able to bully a briefer into silence, let alone the United Nations,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters following the Council’s open debate, saying the conflict “has turned large swaths of Sudan into a living hell.”
Thomas-Greenfield said the Security Council “has a responsibility to demand the parties comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law regarding the protection of civilians,” and must ensure that “humanitarian assistance can reach people in dire need” while urging the warring parties to lay down their arms.
“Let us do everything in our power to in the bloodshed. Sudan’s political future belongs to the Sudanese people, not to the men with guns who are prolonging human suffering,” she added.
Sudan has been ravaged by fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces since April in a conflict that has killed more than 3,000 civilians and injured thousands, according to local medics. More than 4 million people have been displaced, according to the UN.
The UN mission, known as UNITAMS, is a special political mission tasked with helping Sudan transition to a democratic government following decades of strongman rule under ex-President Omar al-Bashir.