UN envoy 'to resign as Dutch refugee chief'
21 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Former government minister Jan Pronk is expected to resign as chairman of the Dutch Refugee Organisations (VON) because he is no longer able to combine the work with his role as the special United Nations envoy to Sudan.
21 July 2004
AMSTERDAM — Former government minister Jan Pronk is expected to resign as chairman of the Dutch Refugee Organisations (VON) because he is no longer able to combine the work with his role as the special United Nations envoy to Sudan.
VON director Fatma Özgümüs has refused to confirm Pronk's resignation, but she assumes that within four months Pronk will no longer be working as the chairman of the refugee association.
Pronk is presently living in Sudan and Özgümüs said this was in practical terms presenting a difficult situation. The association will work towards a solution after the summer holiday period.
His departure is allegedly only due to the intense work pressure as UN special envoy to Sudan — and is thus involved in examining the humanitarian crisis in Darfur — and not because of the conflict that erupted between him and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.
The former Labour PvdA minister compared Verdonk's asylum seeker policy earlier this year with Nazi-style deportations, Dutch public news service NOS reported on Tuesday.
He refused to apologise for his statement, despite the fact that Minister Verdonk demanded one. Verdonk is now refusing to meet with Pronk about the government's minorities policies and also previously indicated it would be wise if Pronk resigned.
Pronk was previously the Overseas Development Minister and Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment Minister. He was appointed VON chairman at the end of 2003 and quickly clashed with Verdonk.
He threatened in March to resign as a result of his conflict with the Liberal VVD minister, but decided to stay at the urging of the refugee organisation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news