Pronk was ordered to leave Khartoum Sunday, after he posted an entry on his Internet weblog saying Sudan's armed forces had been badly beaten in two recent battles with rebels in Darfur, suffering heavy casualties. The entry reported troop morale had sunk, and several commanders had been fired.
The weblog has embarrassed U.N. officials. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric last Friday emphasized that the views expressed are Pronk's, and do not reflect those of the U.N. or Secretary-General Annan.
Dujarric Monday refused to characterize Pronk's departure from Khartoum as an expulsion. He said the envoy is returning for consultations, and retains Mr. Annan's full confidence.
He said, "The secretary-general has asked Mr. Pronk to come back, and Mr. Pronk will have discussions with the Secretary-General and other senior officials when he's here. But what needs to be clearly stated is that he continues to be the special representative of the secretary general in serving with the full support of the secretary-general in that capacity."
Pronk is a 66-year-old former Dutch Cabinet minister. He has been a powerful presence as Mr. Annan's special envoy, speaking frankly about the violence in Darfur, which the United States and others describe as genocide.
Pronk has sharply criticized Khartoum for allowing Arab militias known as janjaweed to carry out ethnic cleansing operations in the vast western Sudanese region. He has described internally displaced people in Darfur as "victims of Arab racism."
BBC World Service broadcasts to Juba in Southern Sudan and surrounding areas in Arabic on 90.0 FM and in English on 88.2 FM. In Northern Sudan: Khartoum 91.0 FM, Al Ubayyid 91.0 FM, Port Sudan 91.0 FM and Wad Madani 91.5 FM.
“Violence will bring no victory. For the sake of the Darfur civilians, all parties to the conflict have to stop resorting to violence. This is the absolute priority.” - Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, 05 June 2009
"APPREHENSION" by Rob Rooker. Painted on a wall in Maridi, Sudan. The image is of a young Nuer boy looking up among a crowd of people. Click on image for more details. Cards & prints of Rob's paintings can be purchased online at Imagekind.com