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U.S. special envoy visits Blue Nile to assess humanitarian situation

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U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Boorth is received by Blue Nile State Governor Hussein Yassin at Ed Damazin Airport on 29 August, 2016 (ST Photo)

August 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, on Monday has visited Blue Nile State to assess the humanitarian situation in the region.

Booth has arrived in Khartoum on Sunday in for the second time in less than a month.

On Monday, Booth and his accompanying delegation met in Ed-Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State, with the Governor Hussein Yassin, senior officials and humanitarian aid commission workers.

During the meeting, the governor accused Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) of repeatedly attacking civilians and aid workers in the state.

“The humanitarian situation in Blue Nile State is stable thanks to federal government efforts in providing services and supporting stability in the state,” said Yassin.

According to the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Yassin also accused the SPLM-N of attacking the staff of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

The Ministers of Health and Urban Panning briefed the U.S. envoy on the provision of services and humanitarian needs.

Official sources told Sudan Tribune that Booth was interested to learn about the general conditions of civilians affected by the armed conflict in the state and the humanitarian assistance provided to them.

In a statement on Sunday, U.S. Department of State pointed that Booth will engage with a range of people in Blue Nile State affected by conflict. The statement said he will meet with Sudanese government officials, civil society, community leaders, and the staff of international organizations to open discussion and unimpeded exchanges.

“The United States remains deeply committed to the Sudanese people. Through visits like this, the Special Envoy will continue to engage constructively with the Government of Sudan and all parties to realize inclusive dialogue and a peaceful and stable Sudan,” says U.S Department of State statement.

Meanwhile, the opposition alliance of the Future Forces of Change (FFC) said they discussed with staff members of the U.S. special envoy’s office the national dialogue and ways to engage all political forces in the process.

By the end of last July, the U.S. envoy visited Darfur to asses the humanitarian situation in the war-torn region.

After the visit, Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on August 1st, arrested 15 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) leaders in Nertiti town, Central Darfur state, following a meeting with Booth.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour denied that NISS arrested the IDPs, but admitted that some of them “May be (...) arrested by the local authorities."

Booth will meet on Tuesday in Khartoum with the Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid who also heads government delegation to the talks on the Two Areas to discuss preparations for the next round of negotiations with rebel groups.

Earlier in August, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) suspended peace talks on Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states after the parties failed to agree on security arrangements and humanitarian access.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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