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Washington urge Sudan rebels to allow more humanitarian access

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United States on Friday urged the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector to allow delivery of humanitarian assistance to Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas, warning that food insecurity likely to occur within next two months, Sudan Tribune reported.

"Given current predictions of emergency-level food insecurity likely to occur within the next two months in SPLM-N controlled areas, an agreement to allow humanitarian access to begin now is critical to save lives," said Steven Koutsis, U.S Charge d’Affaires in Khartoum, in an article published by Sudan Tribune Friday.

The U.S. charge d’Affaires urged the SPLM/ northern sector "to remove political conditions preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching populations in need and allow rapid deployment of humanitarian aid to civilians in the areas it controls."

"This would mean civilians in dire need would begin seeing food and other humanitarian supplies arriving in their areas very quickly," he noted.

The U.S. diplomat further expressed regret over failure of the conflicting parties in South Kordofan and Blue Nile to reach agreement on means to deliver aid to the needy there.

"Unfortunately, the parties have been unable to come to an agreement on the method of delivery to provide humanitarian aid in opposition held areas," said Koutsis, noting that "this impasse is hurting the Sudanese people living in areas controlled by the SPLM-N, as well as blocking all of Sudan from moving forward with a peace and reconciliation plan sponsored by the African Union."

He renewed the U.S. readiness to begin delivering medical supplies and vaccinations to the people within SPLM-N controlled areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

In November, the U.S. Administration under former President Barack Obama offered an initiative in accordance with which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) would transport medical and humanitarian assistance by air to the affected areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas after undergoing inspection by the government of Sudan.

Earlier the Sudanese government declared its agreement on the U.S. initiative, but the SPLM/northern sector rejected it.

During the peace talks between the two sides in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in August 2016, the SPLM/northern sector demanded transportation of 20 percent of the humanitarian assistance through Ethiopia’s Asosa port, a demand rejected by Khartoum.


Sudan rebel movement releases 130 government army prisoners

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/ northern sector on Saturday announced that it released 130 government army Prisoners of War (POWs).

"The SPLM Command, following consultations between the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, the Secretary-General and the Chief of Staff, has decided to release all the 130 POWs held by the movement," said the SPLM/northern sector in a statement Saturday.

"The movement command has made contacts with the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to hand over the POWs," it added.

According to the statement, President Museveni has actively contributed to making the necessary communications with Sudan and South Sudan to enable the ICRC to transport the POWs to Uganda through external crossings, and with the consent of all parties.

The SPLM/northern sector further reiterated its respect of the international humanitarian law and conventions relating to prisoners of war.

The SPLM/northern sector has been fighting Khartoum’s central government at Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas since 2011.

So far 10 rounds of peace talks have been held in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/ northern sector, under the patronage of the African Union, but all failed to end the conflict in the two areas.


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