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US Deputy Assistant SoS to visit Sudan

February 18 - 2015 KHARTOUM
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, Steven Feldstein (USMissionJuba)
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, Steven Feldstein (USMissionJuba)

Sudan’s official state news agency (SUNA), reports that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, Steven Feldstein, will start a week-long official visit to Sudan next week, at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sanaa Hamad, indicated that the visit comes within the framework of the communication policy and of obtaining official information from the Sudanese government.

She added that a detailed programme is in place for Feldstein, including interviews with many organisations, pointing out that “Sudan’s diplomatic activity towards Washington has begun to bear fruit at this stage, and better results are expected in the coming period”.

Hamad said she believes that the two sides have surpassed the stage of envoys and have started direct dialogue on issues of bilateral nature; “Sudan demanded a dialogue within the framework of mutual commitment and understanding, and mutual benefits”.

SPLM-N

Yasir Arman, Secretary-General of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), says Feldstein’s visit “comes at a crucial time for the Sudanese people, and they will expect it to help in sharply focusing the attention on the gross human rights violations being committed every day by the Sudan government.”

In a press statement on Wednesday, Armin pointed out that “the Sudan government may be the only government in Africa today that is using its air force against its own civilian populations in a wide geographical range from Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains to Darfur. In addition, the air force is targeting hospitals, clinics, water points and school, which constitute a war crime in international humanitarian law.”

Arman also highlights the ongoing situation in Sudan: Prominent leaders of democratic organisations and civil societies are imprisoned; the Sudan government is denying access to humanitarian assistance to the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Blue Nile despite UN Security Council Resolution 2046; and war crimes are committed on a daily basis. The recent Human Rights Watch report regarding the village of Tabit in Darfur, is categorically denied by the Sudan government; however the government adamantly refuses to allow an independent investigation.

Arman says that “the Sudanese people will expect the engagement between Sudan and the US to improve the human rights situation and to restrain the Sudanese government from continuing its practices.

“The visit should not be allowed to be used by the Sudanese government to continue its three decades practice of gross violations of human rights,” Arman concludes.


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