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U.S. calls for humanitarian truce and new UNAMID base in Darfur’s Jebel Marra

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U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Steven Koutsis, USAID and UNAMID officials in Central Darfur Golo town on 19 June 2017 (Photo US Embassy)

July 25, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum Tuesday said alarmed by the "deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Jebel Marra. Further, it called on the warring parties to commit themselves to a cessation of hostilities and to authorise a UNAMID base in the mountainous area.

In line with the five-track framework over the lift of US sanctions on Sudan, aid groups are now allowed aid workers to work in the whole Darfur including Jebel Marra where the government forces fight the Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) which refuses to declare a humanitarian truce or to negotiate with Khartoum.

"Recent nutrition screenings and surveys show critical levels of severe acute malnutrition indicating a complex humanitarian crisis that demands an urgent, multi-sector response," said the embassy in a statement about the humanitarian situation in the area.

The embassy stressed that the situation remains dire and need to be urgently addressed without hindrance despite the humanitarian improvements achieved by the UN agencies and aid groups.

It called on the warring parties to facilitate access to affected areas, emphasising that "The situation is exacerbated by the inability of both sides - the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese Liberation Army – to agree to a cessation of hostilities".

Further "We call on the Government of Sudan to allow the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to open a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo," said the statement.

The UN Security Council on 28 June, renewed the UNAMID mandate for another year and decided to reduce its armed personnel as result of the improvement of the security situation in the region.

However, it requested the Sudanese government to be flexible enough and to cooperate with the UNAMID by allowing the peacekeepers to open and close operating bases as necessary, particularly in Golo where there is a need for a temporary operating site to protect civilians.

The Embassy reminded that the U.S. will continue to provide strong support for UNAMID and the ongoing humanitarian operations in Darfur, and will continue to engage the Government of Sudan to improve humanitarian access and cease hostilities to bring an end to conflicts in Sudan.

On 12 July, the President Donald Trump delayed for three months the lift of economic embargo on Sudan, saying there is a need to more time to assess the implementation of the five-track agreement.

The State Department added that Washington has also three additional matters they want to discuss with Khartoum: human rights, religious freedom and sanctions on North Korea.

(ST)

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