sudan_darfurregion

Many Western countries have criticized the Sudanese government's role in the war-torn Darfur region. ((CBC))

Canada's top diplomatin Sudan and her EuropeanUnioncounterparthave been expelled from the country for what was described as "meddling in its affairs," the country's state news agency reported Thursday.

No specific reason was immediately given forwhyNuala Lawlor,the actingchargé d'affaires for Canada, and her counterpart were ordered to leave within 72 hours.

CBC-TV reporter David McGuffin said Lawlor is the sole diplomat in the Canadian Embassy as it goes through a shift. A new chargé d'affaires is set to arrive in September.

The Foreign Ministry did not identify theother diplomat, but a diplomatic listing recorded Degerfelt Kent as the head of mission for the European Union.

The two were summoned separately to theministry on Wednesday and handed their expulsion notes, the official SUNA news agency reported, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali Al Sadeq.

The spokesman said the two were "involved in activities that constitute an intervention into the internal affairs of the Sudan, a matter that contradicts their diplomatic duties and mission."

Sources told McGuffin thatboth the European Union and Canadian Embassy had raised the issue of a group of political opposition members detained without charges back in July and that may have angered Khartoum.

Many Western countries have been critical of the Sudanese government's role in the war-torn Darfur region where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in years of fighting.

Sudan expressed the hope that the latest news won't hamper relations with the European Commission and Canada.

"Sudan is keen to maintain the relation of co-operation linking it with the European Commission and with Canada," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The Canadian Embassy and the EC office did not immediately respond to phone calls by the Associated Press.

More than 200,000 people have died in Sudan's embattled Darfur region since ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government in 2003, accusing it of discrimination.

Khartoum is accused of retaliating by unleashing militias, which are blamed for the worst atrocities against civilians in a conflict that has displaced more than 2.5 million people.

With files from the Associated Press