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Khartoum renews call for humanitarian agreement in Sudan’s Two Areas

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September 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government has reiterated its call to the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to accept the tripartite initiative to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the conflict affected areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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Girls sit in front of their shelter in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan April 28, 2012. (photo Goran Tomasevic Reuters)

In August 2012, the African Union (AU) announced the signing of an agreement with Sudanese government and SPLM-N over the humanitarian access to the rebel held areas.

The two parties accepted a tripartite initiative to provide humanitarian aid to the affected civilians in the areas controlled by the SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

But, Khartoum had refused a deal the tripartite team signed with the SPLM-N on 18 February 2012 based on its sovereign right to control the whole operation that the United Nations, African Union and Arab League proposed to conduct.

In a press statement on Saturday, Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam has accused the SPLM-N of using the humanitarian aid issue as a tool to achieve political goals.

He pointed that the affected population including children, women and the elderly has nothing to do with the differences between the government and the SPLM-N, stressing the government seeks to deliver aid to the affected according to the humanitarian principles and away from the political agendas.

Adam pointed out that insistence of the SPLM-N to deliver aid directly to the rebel-held areas via airplanes and without following the proper customs and health procedures is inconsistent with the principles established by the United Nations especially with regard to demonstrating respect for the sovereignty of nations and their national laws.

He added the movement’s demand also raises suspicions that it seeks to fulfill other objectives beyond the humanitarian assistance, saying only three out of the 17 localities in South Kordofan fall fully or partially under the control of the SPLM-N while the movement doesn’t control any locality in the Blue Nile.

He pointed that the SPLM-N controls %10 of the population and territory of the Two Areas, stressing his government’s keenness to deliver humanitarian aid to look after every citizen living within Sudan’s territory.

The Sudanese official added that his government accepted the tripartite initiative since 2012 and the fourth item of the UN Security Council resolution 2046 which supports the initiative besides accepting UN initiatives in 2013 and 2014 to carry out children immunization campaigns in the war-affected areas.

He pointed that the government has launched a unilateral initiative to complete children vaccination in the Two Areas but the SPLM-N refused despite the fact that the movement had signed the tripartite initiative in August 2012.

Last month, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas said that South Kordofan and Blue Nile suffer from real humanitarian problems that must be addressed as soon as possible.

She said that children in the Two Areas have not been vaccinated for five years, adding that people suffer from severe acute malnutrition due to lack of food and agricultural land.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed to the warring parties to hold a one week moratorium on fighting in the two states to enable aid workers to carry out a polio vaccination and Vitamin A distribution campaign for about 150,000 children under the age of five years.

Here also the parties failed to agree on from where the operation would be conducted as the SPLM-N asked the United Nations agencies to conduct this campaign from Ethiopian and Kenya, while the Sudanese government said this operation should be carried out from the Sudanese territory.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since June 2011.

The latest round of talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa last month failed to reach a cessation of hostility agreement as the talks are stalled over the humanitarian access from outside Sudan.

(ST)

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