Sudan: EU Urges Sudan to Open Humanitarian Access to Darfur IDPs

Khartoum — The European Union has called on the Sudanese government to allow humanitarian access to affected civilians in the Darfur region following the recent wave of violence caused by fighting between the army and rebels, as well as tribal clashes over land and resources.

"We are profoundly disturbed by the ongoing escalation of fighting and widespread displacement of civilians in Darfur," said a statement released in Brussels by EU foreign affairs representativeCatherine Ashton, international cooperation and humanitarian commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and development commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The Sudanese army (SAF) backed by government militiamen fought against rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) after a series of attacks the latter launched in North and South Darfur last March.

The fighting in addition to inter-tribal clashes displaced some 215,000 people, estimate UN agencies.

"We call on the Sudanese authorities to respect international agencies' mandates and their staff, and to provide aid workers in a timely manner with the necessary travel permits to intervene where humanitarian needs exist," reads the joint statement..

EU officials further called on Khartoum and Darfur rebel groups to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the 11 year conflict, stressing that this surge of violence stands in sharp contrast to the government's initiative for a national dialogue including all opposition and rebel groups.

Besides its continual financial support to the UNAMID peacekeeping mission, the EU granted over 37 million euro for humanitarian assistance to Darfur people in 2014. The continental body is also implementing health, education, food security and natural resources in the region in the framework of its pledge of 27.5 million euro at the Doha donor meeting last year.

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