Sudan calls on U.S. to send aid to government-controlled areas

Nov 24, 2001 (EFE)

The Sudanese government on Saturday urged the United States to send humanitarian aid to areas under government control, as it does to those held by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), at war with Khartoum since 1983.

In a communique released in the capital on Saturday, Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Sulaf al-Din Salih stressed that the central government is not seeking an end to aid to rebel-held zones, but rather equal treatment.

"Khartoum supports the distribution of aid in southern areas controlled by the rebels because they lack food and other necessities, but aid is also needed in the Nubian mountains," in the north, the commissioner said.

For more than 18 years, the SPLA has been battling whatever government is installed in Khartoum, demanding independence from the Muslim-dominated north for the mostly Christian and Animist south.

The war, famines and the government's frequent refusal to let aid through have already cost some 1.5 million lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The United States, which maintains an embargo against Sudan because of its alleged support for international terrorism, supports the SPLA in its secessionist struggle.

U.S.-based Christian organizations have been sending humanitarian aid to southern Sudan for years.