According to World Bulletin, Stafford told the foreign ministry that his resignation was made for “personal reasons” but Sudanese sources claimed that the envoy was forced to resign after he turned to Islam.
Sources said that Stafford has recorded visits to the headquarters of Ansar al-Sunnah in Sudan and established a close relationship with a number of Sudanese clerics through these visits.
The U.S. State Department has not made any statement to confirm or deny the news on Joseph Stafford.
After his resign, Stafford published an article in the Sudan Tribune and said, “My wife and I have been very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people throughout Sudan who share a strong desire and willingness to improve their communities. We will always remember you and your compelling country, and I know you will continue your hard work for a better life, just as you say daily ‘Fi Kulu Harakah Baraka’ (Arabic for ‘in every move there is a blessing’).”
The U.S. has not appointed an ambassador to its embassy in Khartoum since 1998 and has kept its representation there at charge d’affaires despite Sudan’s demand that it be upgraded.