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Sudan defers response to tripartite initiative on South Kordofan aid

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March 20, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has decided to withhold consent to an initiative proposed by the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Arab League (AL) on delivery of aid to South Kordofan pending further assessment, an official said on Tuesday.

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FILE - UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (R) holds a joint press conference with Sudanese Social Welfare Minister Amira al-Fadel Mohamed in Khartoum on January 4, 2012 (GETTY)

Sudan’s minister of social welfare, Amira Al-Fadil, said at a meeting held on Tuesday with representatives of the trio in the capital Khartoum that the government has some reservations over the initiative and therefore decided to refer it to a technical committee.

The committee will study the initiative and produce a report on it by the end of the week, the minister said. The report, she added, would determine the government’s response.

Sudan has been facing pressure, particularly from the United States (US), to allow international aid groups to access South Kordofan and Blue Nile where fears of a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of fighting between government forces and rebel fighters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) have gained momentum in recent months.

The SPLMN said it already agreed and signed the initiative since 16 February. The SPLMN’s secretary-general Yasir Arman said his group had already informed representatives of the international community, including the US Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, during a meeting in Addis Ababa earlier this month that aid must be delivered with or without Khartoum’s consent.

UN estimates say more than 417,000 people have fled their homes since the conflict in South Kordofan erupted in June and spread to Blue Nile in September last year.

Last month, the UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement expressing concern over the situation in the two areas, saying it could reach “emergency levels if not immediately addressed”.

(ST)

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