November 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government and the SPLM-North will meet next week in Addis Ababa to discuss technical measures one day before the launch of a campaign to immunise over 150,000 children in the rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
- Children sit in a cave shelter in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan on 28 April 2012 (Photo: Reuters /Goran Tomasevic)
The alliance of rebel groups in the Two Areas and Darfur region, Sudanese Revolutionary Front, announced on Thursday that the SPLM-N briefed them on the ongoing preparations for the campaign and they decided to cease hostilities in the region.
The SPLM-N "received an invitation from (former South African) president Thabo Mbeki to a meeting gathering the parties to the conflict on the 4th of November in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to finalise arrangements for the anti- polio vaccination campaign", said a statement released by the spokesperson of the rebel negotiating team Zainab Mahmoud.
Mahmoud said that they do not trust the unilateral cessation of hostilities announced by Sudanese army, stressing "this is why they insist on their demand for a cessation of hostilities agreement signed in presence of regional and international observers".
She further said the second matter they want to discuss is the transportation of vaccines adding it should be done through a "neutral and credible body".
The SPLM-N initially proposed to bring the vaccines from Kenya and Ethiopia and then proposed to task the UNISFA peacekeepers, deployed in Abyei and Sudan South Sudan borders, with its transportation.
The campaign is scheduled to start on the 5th of November, while the Sudanese army said committed to cease hostilities for 12 days beginning on 1 November.
UN agencies seek since last April to carry out the vaccination campaign in the rebel controlled areas but the deadlocked political talks between the government and the SPLM-N affected negatively the operation and delayed it.
Last October the UN resident representative and humanitarian coordinator in a statement issued on the occasion of World Polio Day called on the two parties "to put children’s health before politics and to ensure that this campaign goes ahead without delay".