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Sudanese lawmakers to mediate in Red Cross suspension

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February 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese parliament has formed an ad’hoc commission to resolve issues that led to the suspend the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the country.

The head of humanitarian and social affairs committee in the National Assembly, Hassab Allah Saleh stated that the law makers would meet with the three parties to the dispute, Sudanese Red Crescent Society(SRCS) the Humanitarian Action Commission (HAC) and ICRC, to discuss ways to settle their differences.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting with HAC chairman Suleiman Abdel Rahman, Saleh told reporters there is no substantial differences between the ICRC and SRCS.

He further expected a lift of the ban on ICRC activities following a meeting chaired by the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh to discuss the matter on Thursday.

The Red Cross announced the suspension of its activities in Sudan as of the first of February saying this decision was taken in compliance with an official request from the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission.

HAC, on the other hand, said that the ICRC needs to comply with the national humanitarian work guidelines and the voluntary work law in order to continue its activities in the country.

However, the Red Cross said they are in consultations with the SRCS, HAC and the foreign ministry, expressing hope to settle this issue and to resume its activities as soon as possible.

"We are confident that the technical issues cited by the Commission as the reason for this suspension will be quickly settled," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC in Sudan I a statement released on 2 February.

The head of the humanitarian committee in the parliament stressed that the ICRC did not totally stop its activities in Sudan adding they are allowed to operate in Darfur and some other areas.

The ICRC says their activities in 2013 benefited to over 1.5 million people in the war affected areas in Darfur , Blue Nile and South Kordofan particularly . The humanitarian group works in Darfur region since 2003.

(ST)

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