El Fasher — According to the US charge d'affaires in Sudan, the security situation in Darfur forms an obstacle for people who want to return home.
Charge d'affaires Steven Koutsis, heading a delegation including the political and economic advisers at the US Embassy in Khartoum and a USAID representative, arrived in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on Sunday for a three-day visit to the region.
After meeting with North Darfur Deputy Governor Mohamed Breima, the US diplomat said in a joint press conference that the displaced wishing to return need to be confident that the authorities are able to protect them from militia attacks.
Breima stated that North Darfur is almost free of rebels. He cited a great improvement in the security and humanitarian situation, and pointed to his government's plan to support displaced who voluntarily want to return to their places of origin.
He further remarked that the broad border with neighbouring countries constitutes a challenge to his government. The national security needs to be protected, and human trafficking and illegal immigration have to be prevented, he said.
The US delegation will visit Golo in Jebel Marra on Monday, and inspect the USAID projects in the area.
On 31 May, Sudan and Chad signed two separate tripartite agreements with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the voluntary return of Sudanese refugees from Chad and Chad refugees from Sudan. The repatriation should be voluntary and on the basis of well-informed consent.
In a statement last week, the USA welcomed the agreements on the voluntary return of Sudanese refugees in Chad. "The US Embassies in N'Djamena and Khartoum congratulate the governments of Chad and Sudan, as well as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on the signing of the Tripartite Agreements," the statement reads.