Khartoum considers lifting ban on relief flights
The Sudanese government is considering lifting a nine-day ban it has imposed on relief flights in parts of southern Sudan, a government humanitarian aid official said on Monday.
The government imposed the ban in Eastern and Western Equatoria on Friday due to fighting between its troops and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), claiming the aim was to protect relief workers.
Following talks with United Nations officials, Sudan’s humanitarian aid commissioner, Sulaf Eddin Salih, told reporters the talks focused on difficulties facing relief work due to the ban, AFP said.
"We do not have to give justifications to the United Nations because it is our partner in the humanitarian action and appreciates the reasons for the ban, " he said.
However, "the government is considering the lifting of the ban," Salih added following the meeting with United Nations Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Konzwa Oshima and the UN humanitarian affairs envoy in Sudan, Tom Vraaslin. He accused the SPLA of prompting the ban with its capture of Torit and of blocking relief supplies to areas surrounding the southern garrison town for over a month.
The Sudanese official complained that the United Nations had, "until now, failed to provide the government with maps of the relief operations" as previously requested by Khartoum. In addition, Salih called for "a fair" distribution of relief operations in government and SPLA-held areas.
The official, however, praised the United Nations as "a major partner" in humanitarian efforts. "We have been cooperating in this field for many years," he expressed. (Albawaba.com)
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