UN Secretary General begins visit to Sudan

Published July 11th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in Khartoum Wednesday for a two-day visit in which he is expected to hold talks with Sudan’s President Omar al-Beshir and other top officials on humanitarian aid and peace.  


"This visit comes at a time when the peace process is in progress," Annan told reporters at Khartoum airport after a red-carpet reception by International Cooperation Minister Keram Al-Din Abdel Moula and Foreign State Minister Tigani Saleh Fidhail, according to AFP.  


He said he had discussed peace efforts being sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) of east African states with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi during the inaugural meeting of the African Union in Durban, South Africa.  


"I can see good signs for peace in Sudan," he said. Annan said that in addition to the peace process his talks would center on "arrangements for making the humanitarian assistance in Sudan much smoother."  


Later Wednesday, the UN Head was due to meet First Vice President Ali Osman Taha and representatives of United Nations agencies and NGOs.  


On Thursday, he is expected to make a morning visit to a displaced persons' camp, some 45 kilometers south of the capital before giving a noon news conference.  


He is then scheduled to have lunch with Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail and dinner with President Omar al-Beshir before leaving Khartoum early Friday.  


The UN-sponsored Operation Lifeline-Sudan (OLS) is the largest humanitarian relief program in the world, bringing aid to about six million people, one-fifth of the country's population. (Albawaba.com) 


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