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SPLM-N Agar hopes Green’s visit open humanitarian access to Sudan’s Two Areas

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IDPs gather to receive food provided by the WFP during a visit by a EU delegation, at an IDP camp in Azaza, east of Ed Damazin, Blue Nile state, October 21, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters Photo)
August 28, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North led by Malik Agar Monday expressed hope that the visit of USAID chief Mark Green to Sudan can help to open humanitarian access to civilians in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

In his first visit since his appointment earlier this month, Green is on a three-day visit to Sudan where he visited Darfur region and will hold talks with the Sudanese government officials on the humanitarian situation six weeks before a decision on the lift of sanctions on Sudan.

It is not clear if he would visit the Blue Nile or the South Kordofan states where the government and the two factions of the SPLM-N have declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities but failed to reach an agreement on the humanitarian access despite the efforts that Washington exerted in this respect.

In a statement issued on Monday Yasir Arman, SPLM-N Agar Secretary General, welcomed Green’s visit to Sudan saying they hope that the visit of the American senior humanitarian official will push Khartoum to lift the "humanitarian aid sanctions" on the Two Areas.

"The Sudan government is only interested in the lifting of U.S. sanctions without (...) observing the benchmarks of the U.S. government", including the removal of humanitarian sanctions on the civilians in the Two Areas and Darfur, Arman said.

"We are optimistic and expectant that the visit of Mark Green will help in implementing U.S. benchmarks for the Sudan government to allow humanitarian assistance and observation of international humanitarian law as access to humanitarian aid is an unquestionable right for the civilian population, especially those who suffer from genocide and war crimes," the rebel official further said.

Green was in North Darfur state on Monday where he met the Governor Abdel Wahid Youssef and paid a visit to the internally displaced persons in Zam Zam camp outside El-Fasher.

The visiting humanitarian official told the Washington Post that “The timing of my visit shows the importance the U.S. attaches to our relationship with Sudan during this very important sanctions review period.”

“We will be closely watching for sustained progress,” he further added in reference to the five track agreement reached last year between the two countries for the normalisation of bilateral relations and the lift of the 20-year economic embargo on Sudan.

However, it is not clear if Green will visit the Two Areas.

Earlier this year U.S. officials called several times on the SPLM-N to accept a humanitarian proposal they made in a bid to break the deadlocked talks on the humanitarian access but the SPLM-N declined the initiative.

However, Arman reiterated the readiness of SPLM-N to negotiate a humanitarian agreement "despite its internal difficulties as we have officially informed the AUHIP in our meeting recently with them".

The other faction of the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu refuses for the time being to engage in any negotiations with the government before a general conference they plan to hold next October.

(ST)

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