The Sudanese government Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) has approved a UN initiative to deliver humanitarian aid to people living in rebel-controlled areas in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states).
Humanitarian Aid Commissioner-General Ahmed Mohamed Adam said in a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) office in Sudan will coordinate the provision of aid with the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) if the latter agrees.
Although the numbers of the people-in-need living in the rebel-held areas are unknown, the WFP has sufficient food items and shelters for them, Adam said.
He explained that of the 17 localities in the two states, only three are controlled by the armed movement.
WFP Country Director in Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, who participated in the press conference, urged the SPLM-N to approve the UN initiative, based on a US proposal in 2017.
Peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N collapsed at the end of 2015, and again in August 2016 as both parties adhered to their stances concerning the itinerary of humanitarian aid to the rebel-controlled areas.
The SPLM-N claimed that the government aimed to use the aid delivery to enter its troops into the rebel-hold areas, and enter its troops. The movement therefore demanded multiple paths for relief assistance.
Khartoum categorically rejected the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Two Areas via South Sudan or Ethiopia, as proposed by the SPLM-N. The Sudanese government said it wanted to oversee the aid distribution as it feared the rebels would benefit from it.
The Sudanese Relief and Reconstruction Agency, an organisation allied to the SPLM-N, said in an open letter on Wednesday that the people living in the rebel-controlled areas are still in need of aid. They did not receive humanitarian aid until now.
The organisation further states that “No negotiations have taken place [so far] between the two warring parties about the way the aid will be provided to the Two Areas”.