27 June 2012

Sudan Accepts Humanitarian Initiative for S. Kordofan and Blue Nile

Khartoum — Sudanese government gave on Wednesday the green light to start a UN operation to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the areas held by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM°-N).

Khartoum since last year refused to allow access to aid workers to the areas held by the Sudanese rebels in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan and southern parts of Blue Nile state saying rebels will also benefit from such humanitarian support.

Seeking to give Sudan some guarantees on the neutrality of its action in the rebel held areas, the UN agencies requested the support of the African Union and Arab League who agreed to send observers to monitor this humanitarian operation.

The approval was announced Wednesday in a meeting of the coordinating committee between the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and UN agencies at the premises of the UNHCR in Khartoum.

The nine-point agreement provides the right to humanitarian assistance of all the Sudanese affected by the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan without discrimination and the immediate cessation of hostilities though an integrated mechanism, says the Arabic version of the text.

The deal further includes the adoption of a joint plan between the Sudanese government and the three parties to deliver humanitarian relief to the needy in the two states. Also, the parties say committed to observe the Sudanese law, regulations and guidelines of the humanitarian action.

Also, the signatories agreed to implement the tripartite initiative in line with a plan of action prepared by the Sudanese government.

Sudan, United Nations and its partners further agreed on the need to define a timetable to implement the humanitarian operations during a specific period.

The number of refugees displaced to South Sudan by the fight in Blue Nile and South Kordofan reached 170.000 Sudanese according to the UN agencies.

South Sudan's Unity state is hosting some 62.000 people from South Kordofan, as the UN officials hold talks with the South Sudanese authorities on expanding Yida refugee camp to accommodate the large numbers of new arrivals.

UNHCR is appealing for $186 million for the emergency operations related to the Sudanese refugees in South Sudan.

Also there are some 17.000 refugees from the Blue Nile state in Ethiopia.

The government refused to open camps for the internally displaced persons in Kordofan and Blue Nile, saying it would not want to repeat the model of Darfur IDPs camps where rebel supporters used the IDPs sites to put political pressures on Khartoum.

The UN Security Council endorsed last May a resolution prepared by the African Union demanding Sudan and SPLM-N rebels to resume talks to end the one-year conflict based on a framework agreement signed on 28 June 2011 but denounced by President Omer Al-Bashir on week after.

Despite that, there is no prospects for a peaceful settlement to the conflict for the time being.

Khartoum says it can only discuss the implementation of a protocol related to the two states included in a peace agreement signed in 2005 with the SPLM before the South Sudan independence.

The SPLM-N which leads now a rebel alliance with Darfur groups say they can only discuss a comprehensive solution for the Sudanese problem.

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