UN Special Envoy Starts Visit to Sudan
UN special envoy Tom Eric Vraalsen began meetings Sunday with Sudanese officials to discuss a UN-sponsored humanitarian assistance program for war-ravaged southern Sudan.
After meeting Vraalsen, Sudanese Minister of State for Social Planning Shol Deng Alak told AFP that the discussion was the beginning of a Sudanese government-proposed review of the UN-sponsored Operation Lifeline-Sudan, OLS.
He said he had told the UN special envoy for humanitarian affairs for Sudan that "after 11 years of cooperation, we want food aid to be delivered from bases inside Sudan."
"And, meanwhile, the government should have representatives in Lokichokio (north Kenya) to supervise the loading of the relief supplies there."
Alak also said that Vraalsen had shown understanding of these positions and said he believed the government's demands should be discussed further by the concerned parties, including the UN headquarters in New York.
"We know that those questions will not be finalised immediately, and we are only presenting our proposals," said Alak.
He said he had also discussed with Vraalsen a comprehensive ceasefire in Sudan.
"As a government, we want to see to it that peace is achieved but this cannot be done in absence of a comprehensive ceasefire," Alak said.
He gave Vraalsen the government's view: that the UN "should be very much concerned with peace and should therefore press for a comprehensive ceasefire which we believe is prerequisite to achieving peace."
Peace is a top responsibility of the UN, Alak added.
Ambassador Vraalsen also Sunday met with Sudanese minister of State for Peace Mutrif Siddig Ali.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Khartoum Sunday issued a press release saying that Vraalsen arrived in Khartoum on Saturday beginning a visit to Sudan and Kenya for consultations with the Sudanese government and rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on the Operation Lifeline-Sudan.
The SPLA accused Khartoum on Thursday of intensifying aerial bombardments of civilian targets in south Sudan "in a plan to carry out genocide in liberated areas." - KHARTOUM (AFP)
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