KHARTOUM: Rebels in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by fighting, called yesterday for aid to be sent in through South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The request — which the rebels said they will formally makings about the humanitarian situation in the two states along Sudan's southern border.
“We will ask for the cross-border operation from South Sudan and Ethiopia,” Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, spokesman for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told AFP.
He said the Sudanese government “is not respecting” a memorandum of understanding signed on Aug 5.
A ruling party official in Khartoum, however, insisted the government is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to all those affected by the war.
Both the government and rebels signed similar memorandums with the African Union, Arab League and UN to allow for humanitarian access throughout South Kordofan and Blue Nile — including in rebel-held areas.
The signing came six months after the three organizations submitted their proposal to Khartoum.
The UN has expressed concern for months about a worsening humanitarian situation in the war zone, where Khartoum cited security concerns in tightly restricting the operations of foreign aid agencies.
Lodi accused the government of “delaying tactics” and said the rebels would officially request the cross-border operation at a meeting between the signatories next Tuesday.
He said the rebels are still “committed to the MOU” and to working with the three foreign organizations.
Ali Adam, a director general of Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission, confirmed on Monday that implementation of the memorandum was behind schedule. He said the required planning meetings had not yet occurred.
“Our duty and our responsibility is to provide aid to our people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid, a senior official of the ruling National Congress Party, told AFP. “Each and every and all support will be provided by our government.”
Under the memorandum reached between Khartoum, the UN, AU and Arab League, the “entire humanitarian operations” are to be under Sudanese government supervision.
A United Nations source said the UN “has to respect the sovereignty of nation states” and could not enter a country without its permission