October 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government agreed to cease hostility for two week next month in South Kordofan to allow the conduct of a vaccination campaign, announced the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari.
- Children play in the mountains outside of Tess, South Kordofan, Sudan, on April 24, 2012. (Photo ADRIANE OHANESIAN/AFP/GettyImages)
"I was informed by the government that they will be declaring unilaterally a cessation of hostilities from the 1st to the 14th of November", said Al-Za’tari in an interview from New York to OCHA website released on Wednesday.
He further expressed hope that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) ceases hostilities and gives them a green light to start the campaign aiming to immunise children under five year against polio and vitamin A deficiency.
The UN humanitarian coordinator in Sudan confirmed that 5th November is agreed to be the start date.
On 3 October, head of Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), Suleiman Abdel- Rahman Suleiman announced that they reached an agreement with the members of the tripartite initiative — UN, AU and Arab league — to carry out the vaccination operation on 5 November.
However, besides the lack of a deal on the cessation of hostilities, the two parties have also to agree on the mode of transporting vaccines and the local humanitarian workers who will participate in the operation.
The SPLM-N demands direct talks with the Sudanese government on the humanitarian truce brokered by the African Union mediation but Khartoum refused saying indirect talks through the members of the tripartite is enough for such measure.
The rebel group further said they want more than two weeks because there is a need to bring the children from the caves in the hills to the vaccination points and to return them back to their families.
The SPLM-N also wants to involve its humanitarian organisation in the operation and suggests that UN peacekeepers in Abyei bring the vaccines to their areas.
The UN Security Council last week issued a press statement calling on the Sudanese parties to urgently reach an agreement on the technical details underlining the imminent threat of polio spreading to South Kordofan from South Sudan, following a recent outbreak in the Horn and East Africa countries.
The vaccination campaign targets mainly 147,000 children in the rebel controlled areas in South Kordofan. In the Blue Nile state there are only 700 children.