Jan Pronk also said on Friday that his "incessant criticism" of the fact that "the government continues to seek a military solution despite the fact a cease-fire agreement has been signed" was the reason he was ordered to leave.

Pronk, a former Dutch cabinet minister, was speaking after giving his last briefing to the UN security council, days after being told by Sudan he was persona non grata for writing on a personal Web site that the Sudanese army lost two major battles to rebels in Darfur and morale was low.

He will be allowed to return to the Sudanese capital next month to hand over his duties to deputy Taye Zerihoun and will keep his title as special representative to Sudan until the end of the year, when his contract runs out, UN officials said.

While Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, alone has the power to dismiss one of his special representatives, "he also realizes that at a critical time in the Darfur negotiations, it is important that we preserve a good working relationship with the government of Sudan," Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief spokesman, told reporters.

Abdalmahmood Mohamad, the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN who declared on Thursday that "for us Mr. Pronk is history," called the arrangement "a face-saving formula" for the UN.

"Maybe he enjoys the confidence of the secretary-general, not the government of Sudan," Mohamad said. "His mandate as the secretary-general's special envoy, it is over. We are not backtracking for an inch."