Country denies US, British, French diplomats visa

Regardless of the block, the trio still hope the visit will occur as violence in Darfur increases and Khartoum demands UNAMID's withdrawal.

Sudan has turned down the visa application for top diplomats of the United States, Britain and France hoping to conduct a fact-finding mission in Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region, Reuters reports.

Reports say the country's failure to grant visas to the deputy United Nations ambassadors of the three influential countries was a further sign of it's increasingly confrontational approach to the UN and the West over the UN-African Union mission to Darfur (UNAMID), which Khartoum wants shut.

According to sources, the diplomats of the countries led by British Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson wanted to visit Darfur in January in order to investigate UNAMID's poor performance and withholding of information about violence against civilians and peace keepers in Darfur.

However, Khartoum was obstructing the investigation of an alleged mass rape in Darfur and expelled several senior UN officials from Sudan.

Said the source, "not permitting ambassadors from the United States, Britain and France to go to Darfur shows how uncooperative the government of Sudan has become"

Diplomats said that in negotiations with the United Nations on an exit strategy for UNAMID, Sudan is demanding that 15,000 blue-helmeted peacekeepers be withdrawn by the end of 2015.

The US however rejects that demand saying UNAMID still has important role to play in protecting civilians, also adding that Sudan continued to obstruct UNAMID's work on a daily basis.

There has been an absence of law and order in Darfur where mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms in 2003 against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination.


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