Sudan Declares US Diplomat Persona non Grata
Sudan declared Thursday a US diplomat in Khartoum persona non grata after he held a meeting with seven leading opposition figures who were later arrested, reported Al-Jazira satellite channel, quoting a statement by the foreign ministry.
The report added that the ministry gave Glenn Warren a period of 72 hours to leave the country.
The high-ranking officials of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were arrested on charges of plotting unrest just days before general elections.
They were accused of "planning for a popular uprising backed by a military action and of passing information over to the rebel movement to help it occupy cities and destroy installations with assistance by the United States," a statement obtained by the AFP said.
According to AFP, the arrests came just five days before elections for a Sudanese parliament and president which will run from December 11 to 20 and which are being boycotted by the opposition.
Among those arrested were the NDA's secretary general inside Sudan, Joseph Okelu, and spokesman Ali Ahmed al-Sayyed, said the agency.
The statement said the security forces seized the minutes of the meeting, which included questions by the US diplomat on the likelihood of a military coup d'etat and the situation in Sudan, according to a newspaper report published Thursday.
An opposition figure denounced the authorities' accusations of conspiracy as "fictitious allegations," said AFP.
"It was an ordinary meeting like ones we have previously held and will certainly hold in the future with officials of regional and international powers to explain to them the conditions in Sudan," said advocate Ghazi Suleiman, identifying himself as a leading NDA member.
He told the agency that the NDA was not conspiring but "we will continue our struggle against the repressive regime," adding that they would gather more than a hundred lawyers to defend the detainees.
The NDA, which groups northern and southern opposition groups who are fighting a 17-year-old civil war against Khartoum, also has a leadership based outside Sudan, according to the agency – (Several Sources)
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