US slams Sudan's 'troubling pattern' against aid workers

AFP
A handout picture released by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on April 6, 2014 shows UNAMID engineers working on the construction of a watch tower in the a Buffer Zone in Khor Abeche
A handout picture released by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on April 6, 2014 shows UNAMID engineers working on the construction of a watch tower in the a Buffer Zone in Khor Abeche (AFP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

Washington (AFP) - The United States Thursday criticized Sudan's expulsion of a top UN official, saying it was part of a "troubling pattern" against foreign aid workers.

Pamela DeLargy, an American who headed the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) office in Sudan, "was asked to leave," Khartoum's foreign ministry spokesman Abubakr al-Siddiq told AFP.

She was expelled "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."

A State Department official confirmed that a US citizen working for the UN Population Fund had been asked to leave the country, without identifying them, and said Washington was asking for more information from Khartoum.

But the official told AFP: "This expulsion is the latest in a troubling pattern of the Sudanese government’s expulsion of foreign aid workers in the country."

Sudan suspended the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross in February.

"We continue to support the critical work of UNFPA in Sudan to improve maternal and neonatal health and reduce gender-based violence against women and girls," the US official added.