Khartoum/Geneva — Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today signed a newly revised country agreement. The legal document formalizes relations between the Sudanese authorities and the ICRC, and will replace a previous agreement dating from 1984.
The Sudanese authorities suspended the ICRC's activities in Sudan on 1 February, citing technical issues, and asked the organization to review the country agreement that sets out its legal and diplomatic status in the country.
Currently, the ICRC is discussing with the Sudanese authorities the practical arrangements for restarting its humanitarian operations in the country. "Negotiations have been constructive in recent weeks, and the signing of a new country agreement is a positive and essential step towards resuming our humanitarian work in Sudan," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, who heads the ICRC delegation in Sudan. "We hope to conclude our dialogue with the authorities soon."
"The revised agreement sets forth the ICRC's legal and diplomatic status in the country and continues to recognize our organization's mandate, which is to assist and protect victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence," explained Mr Sandoz. "This type of agreement is not specific to Sudan; the ICRC has similar accords with about 100 other countries around the world."
In 2013, about 1.5 million people in Sudan benefited from ICRC aid. "Our staff are eager to pick up where they left off, helping people in conflict-stricken areas," said Mr Sandoz.
The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978 and extended its operations to Darfur in 2003. The organization's mandate is set out in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, to which Sudan, along with 194 other States, is party.