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U.S. urges Sudan to allow humanitarian access to Central Darfur

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Newly displaced persons (IDPs) camp outside UNAMID Team Site in Sortoni, North Darfur, on February 8, 2016 (Photo UNAMID)
March 4, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - United States embassy in Khartoum said that access to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Central Darfur state has been “difficult and obstructed”, and urged the Sudanese government to give UN agencies and aid organizations access to the state.

According to the UN, the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and the Abdel Wahid al-Nur faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM/AW) in Darfur area of Jebel Marra since 15 January displaced about 90.000 civilians from more than 60 villages.

A delegation from the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, led by Chargé d’Affaires Benjamin Moeling, completed a two-day visit to North Darfur on March 3.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, the embassy said its delegation met with a wide range of individuals and organizations in North Darfur capital, El Fasher, including government officials, UN agencies, hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), business people, and IDPs.

“In discussing the humanitarian situation with UN representatives, the U.S. delegation was pleased that the UN confirmed it has access to the displaced persons’ sites in North Darfur, including some of the populations displaced by fighting in Jebel Marra,” the statement read.

“The United States notes, however, that access to populations in Central Darfur has been difficult and obstructed,” added the statement.

The U.S. further called on the Sudanese government “to replicate its successful cooperation with humanitarian agencies in North Darfur by opening up Central Darfur as well”.

Aid groups have been barred from reaching civilians in the war affected zones in Central Darfur where the government troops are currently concentrating their action on what they call the "latest pockets" of the rebel fighters.

Last week, Sudan’s state Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kamal al-Din Ismail, told reporters Sunday that the ban on the movement of aid groups in Central Darfur has been enforced in several areas according to the conditions of the military operations.

"But this ban is linked to a temporary situation on the ground," Ismail further asserted.

PEACE AND STABILITY

Meanwhile, the US delegation underscored that everyone in Darfur wants peace and stability and no one wants war.

“Victims of conflict do not want to be caught between opposition and government forces; business people do not want to have to confront bandits and hijackers on the road,” said Moeling.

The Sudanese army has been fighting armed movements in Darfur since 2003. In mid-January, the Sudanese army launched a large scale operation on the positions of the SLM-AW militants saying they attack military and commercial convoys in Jebel Marra area.

According to the UN, 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and 2, 5 million chased from their homes.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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