February 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas on Wednesday have discussed ways to enhance cooperation to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Two Areas.
South Kordofan and neighbouring Blue Nile states, also known as the “Two Areas” have been the scene of violent conflict between the SPLM-N and Sudanese army since 2011.
The African Union has been seeking to end the conflict for several years. However, last August, the two sides failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement because Khartoum refuses to allow the delivery of food to civilians in some rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile State directly through Asosa, an Ethiopian Town near the border with Sudan.
In a bid to break the deadlock in the peace talks between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N, the former U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth last November proposed that the USAID will deliver medical humanitarian aid to civilians in the rebel-held areas by air directly after its inspection from the government.
The SPLM-N declined the proposal insisting on the need to transport 20% of the humanitarian aid directly from Asosa to the rebel areas.
Sudan’s official news agency SUNA on Wednesday quoted Ruedas as saying “the meeting discussed the role that could be played by the UN to deliver the humanitarian assistance to the Two Areas”.
She added the meeting also discussed how the two sides “could cooperate and coordinate to make use of the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Sudan for the delivery of aid to the affected areas”.
According to SUNA, Ruedas pointed that she would discuss the issue at the U.N headquarters in New York during a short trip she will undertake soon.
It is noteworthy that Hamid on Tuesday reiterated Khartoum’s readiness to implement the U.S. proposal to deliver assistance to the needy population in the Two Areas.
Also, SPLM-N leader Malik Agar on 6 February expressed readiness to discuss the U.S. proposal, saying his movement rejected the Sudanese government control of the humanitarian operation but didn’t decline the proposal.