UN Official Accused Sudan of Blocking Aid to Starving Refugees

Omar Al-Bashir
Bashir has a starvation policy to deal with dissent

A senior official in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) accused the Sudanese government of lacking seriousness in the implementation of a plane to deliver humanitarian aid in the rebel areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The Khartoum-based official was speaking on the condition of anonymity after a call by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North to deliver humanitarian assistance through South Sudan and Ethiopia to avoid the obstruction that the government practices.

He told reporters that a  meeting between the relevant parties had been scheduled to be held two weeks after the signing of the agreement earlier this month but the Sudanese government delegation apologized pretending that Eid Al-Fitr holidays prevent them from participating in the meeting.

The U.N. official stressed that the international community is much concerned by the delivery of humanitarian aid as soon as possible to the affected civilian in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.

He further disclosed that Khartoum insists that its delegates should participate in an assessment mission to the rebel held areas to verify the exact number of the needy before to deliver the humanitarian assistance.

Sudan accuses the rebels of using the humanitarian issue to embarrass Khartoum before the international community.

Khartoum also says the rebels prevent the civilians from moving from the war zones because they want to use the humanitarian aid to feed its soldiers, alluding to Lifeline Sudan, a U.N. humanitarian operation organised during the war with the former south Sudanese rebel SPLM.

Sudan Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Suleiman Abdel Rahman, who heads the government negotiating team for the humanitarian talks with the SSPLM-N rebels in Addais Ababa reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment to implement the deal and to allow humanitarian access to the Two Areas.

He told reporters in Khartoum on Wednesday that the government is preparing to complete the needed procedures – finalising the lists of participants, time tables – together with the international partners members of the tripartite initiative: U.N. African Union and Arab League.

Suleiman said his government is not obliged to deal directly with the rebels but it works and coordinate with the international and regional partners.

Regarding the call by the rebel group to deliver aid from South Sudan he said they seek to mobilise the international community against the government and create the impression that Khartoum refuses to help its affected civilians.