Khartoum has so far declined to issue visas for senior U.S., British and French diplomats hoping to conduct a fact-finding mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region, U.N. diplomatic sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
They said Sudan’s failure to grant visas to the deputy U.N. ambassadors of the three veto-wielding Western powers was a further sign of Khartoum’s increasingly confrontational approach to the United Nations and the West over the U.N.-African Union mission to Darfur (UNAMID), which Khartoum wants shut.
The sources said the diplomats wanted to visit Darfur in January, and that British Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson was intending to lead the trip. At that time UNAMID was under fire for its poor performance and withholding of information about violence against civilians and peacekeepers in Darfur.
Khartoum was obstructing a U.N. investigation of an alleged mass rape in Darfur and had expelled several senior U.N. officials from Sudan.