Sudan Calls for Relief Flights to be Moved inside Country
The Sudanese government, which has accused humanitarian organizations of supplying arms to rebels in the south of the country, has decided to move all relief flights to inside Sudan starting at the end of August, officials said in the local press Friday.
The government decided at a meeting Thursday to send a representative to the northern Kenyan town of Lokichokio to supervise humanitarian flights until the operations can be moved into Sudanese territory, Minister of State for Social Planning Chuol Deng said, according to the Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.
The Sudanese government will also reconsider the permits it grants to non-governmental organizations that are part of the UN-sponsored program Operation Lifeline-Sudan, he said.
Sudan "will not place obstacles before the donors but will not tolerate violation of the country's national sovereignty and national security," the minister said.
Deng said his government will relate its decisions to the United Nations in the coming days and invite all relief organizations and donor nations to meet with the government to discuss the new procedures and the groups' alleged assistance to the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Deng stressed that under Operation Lifeline-Sudan agreement of 1989 the Sudanese government has the right to supervise humanitarian operations and bears "full responsibility for providing food to affected people everywhere in Sudan."
Sulaf Eddin Salih, the country's humanitarian aid commissioner, has blamed non-governmental organizations, mostly working outside the UN-sponsored aid program, of supplying arms to the SPLA.
"There are organizations operating outside the UN and committing security violations by practicing anti-government acts and supporting and supplying the rebellion with weapons," Salih told Sudan Television.
Salih also recommended that humanitarian operations rely less on flights and make more use of cheaper means of transportation such as railways, river barges and trucks - KHARTOUM (AFP)
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