Only ceasefire can allow return of aid groups to Blue Nile and Kordofan – Sudan’s FM

September 29, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

Foreign minister Ali Karti said yesterday that Sudan can allow aid groups to work in Blue Nile and southern Kordofan only when the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) stops the fighting in the two troubled provinces.

The fight broke out between Sudanese army and rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the two states bordering the Republic of South Sudan, since June for South Kordofan and Blue Nile in September.

The clashes displaced about 25 thousands in the Blue Nile and over 73,000 people who fled the Southern Kordofan. However, Sudanese government refused to allow international aid agencies and INGOs from working in the two regions saying this will be a repeat of Darfur camps.

Speaking in a press conference held at the Sudanese embassy in Paris on Thursday Karti said the ban of aid groups will be implemented until a ceasefire is reached with the SPLM-N. But he did not elaborate on how to reach it.

"If the other party (SPLM-N rebels) agree to a cease-fire and stop all military operations, then we be willing to allow United Nations organizations to work for the delivery of food assistance to these areas," Karti said.

But "We will not accept that the rebels benefit from the humanitarian assistance to the civilians." He said further stressed. The pointed out that the SPLM-N decided to not observe the unilateral ceasefire announced on 23 August, and to keep carrying its attacks. "So we will not allow it to receive such assistance and to continue its military operations".

Sudanese Government imposed movement restrictions for UN aid workers in the Blue Nile following the start of hostilities between the two parties on 1 September. Aid groups and international NGOs can only deliver humanitarian assistance through local aid groups particularly the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS).

Today, the SPLM-N in the Blue Nile released a call to the international community urging more pressure on the Sudanese government to lift the humanitarian ban and allow it to work in the state, particularly in the rebel controlled areas where no information is available about the situation there.

President, Omer al-Bashir said on Wednesday the army would soon attack Kurmuk to dislodge the SPLM-N forces out of their last stronghold town near the border with Ethiopia.

Also Bashir repeated his refusal to any internationally mediated talks with the SPLM-N but said the movement can negotiate on the implementation of a protocol related the two provinces particularly the Popular Consultation.

Karti said the government will not accept the return of Malik Agar as governor.

The French foreign ministry said Thursday that foreign minister Alain Juppé and cooperation minister Henri de Raincourt discussed the situation in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Darfur with Karti.

"This meeting was also an opportunity to discuss major regional issues of common interest, including the future of Libya and coordination of international assistance to the (Libya’s National Transitional Council) CNT, and good relations with this country."

Karti told reporters he discussed ways to relief Sudan’s debit with the French ministers as debt servicing incurs more than $1 billion annually.

He said they asked France to discuss this relief with the 19 World’s biggest economies members of the Paris Club for the $38-billion debt that Sudan and South Sudan are still discussing among the outstanding issues in the implementation of the 2005 peace agreement.


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