March 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese 1st Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha on Thursday chaired a meeting of the Higher Commission for Humanitarian Aid to discuss the situation in the conflict-ridden Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
- A boy who fled a war across the border in Sudan’s Blue Nile state waits in a queue outside a clinic in Doro refugee camp, March 9, 2012 (Reuters)
Thousands of civilians fled the fighting in South Kordofan that started last year between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan people Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).
South Kordofan borders Darfur, and also South Sudan, which split away as an independent country in July as part of a peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the Khartoum government.
Many people in South Kordofan, particularly among the Nuba, had sided with the south during the civil war but were left on the Sudanese side of the border after the split.
A few months later fighting broke out in Blue Nile state between the two sides as well.
Khartoum has rejected all calls to allow aid groups into the two states particularly in rebel-held areas expressing concern that this would be a cover-up to provide weapons.
This month, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a unanimous statement saying that it was imperative for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the two states.
The fighting in recent months has forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, according to the United Nations figures.
There has been a joint initiative unveiled last month by the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Arab League (AL) calls for the three organizations to assess the needs and humanitarian situation throughout the conflict area, and then to deliver assistance to the needy.
This plan was discussed during today’s meeting chaired by Taha and Sudan’s potential response to it. The SPLM-N has already agreed to it.
Taha said that ending the war is the best way to allow the displaced to return to their homes and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to provide aid in accordance with the joint assessment done with the UN.
Yesterday the U.S. special envoy to Sudan told a congressional committee that the Obama administration is seeking ways to pressure Khartoum to allow aid into these two areas with the help of other countries.