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Sudan urges SPLM-N to accept UN humanitarian proposal for Two Areas

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WFP food assistance being offloaded from a truck at a distribution site in the South Kordofan capital Kadugli (File Photo WFP)
October 13, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Saturday has called on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to accept the UN humanitarian proposal for the Two Areas.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

Last month, Sudan agreed to an initiative from the UN to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Minister of Information and government official spokesperson, Bishara Aror, said the UN proposal is considered the thirteenth of its kind to be accepted by Sudan, pointing to initiatives from the Arab League, the tripartite team and the U.S. government.

He stressed the government is ready to accept any initiative to end the war and achieve peace in the Two Areas particularly after extending the unilateral ceasefire.

Aror urged the SPLM-N to appreciate the suffering of the Two Areas residents and accept the UN humanitarian proposal, saying the rebel has no reason to refuse the delivery of aid to the affected population.

The details of the UN initiative are made public but they seem similar to a former plan prepared b a tripartite committee including UN, African Union and the Arab League providing that the humanitarian assistance will be delivered from Sudan after its control by the Sudanese authorities and its distribution will be monitored by UN, AU and Arab observers to ensure that the rebels will not get it.

The SPLM-N officials in the past told the mediation they insist on the external stations because they want to have a humanitarian corridor to ensure the transportation from the landlocked rebel-areas of ill or wounded fighters to outside the country for treatment.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

Talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016.

The SPLM-N demands to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.

But the government rejects the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

The SPLM-N, in November 2016 declined an American proposal to transport humanitarian medical assistance directly to the civilians in the rebel-held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Also, during the last round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The mediation delinked the ceasefire and the humanitarian access and focused at this round only on the cessation of hostilities agreement.

However, differences between the sides emerged when Khartoum proposed that the cessation of hostilities be a step towards a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access.

(ST)

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