The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said it was forced to scale back its operations in strife-torn Darfur because work permits for 20 of its staff members were not renewed. The independent Sudan Tribune said the government in Khartoum has not provided an explanation for the decision.
Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said the decision raises serious concerns about Khartoum's commitment to peace.
"The failure to renew UNHCR staff permits is particularly unfortunate, as it comes in the context of deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in Darfur and the forcible displacement of over 300,000 persons this year," she said in a statement Tuesday.
The United States helped broker a peace deal in 2005 that ended Sudan's bloody civil war. Psaki said all parties to lingering war are urged to find a peaceful solution to the fighting.
Ibn Chambas, director of the joint peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID, told the Security Council in July the violence in Darfur has continued unabated for the better part of a decade.
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