All parties to the conflict in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan should ensure international and national aid providers would have full, unimpeded access to the affected population, according to European aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.
Georgieva made the appeal in a press release issued on Aug. 26, three days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared a two-week unilateral, temporary ceasefire in the state, where Sudanese troops and ethnic Nuban fighters have been engaged in fierce fighting since June.
“This temporary unilateral cease-fire can provide a window of opportunity to bring in much needed assistance. I am deeply concerned about the suffering of people caught up in the conflict in South Kordofan,” Georgieva said. “Full, unimpeded access to these people by both international and national aid providers is needed to enable the delivery of vital assistance. With this in mind, we are urgently calling for all restrictions, administrative or otherwise, to be lifted.”
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton made a similar call on Aug. 10.
The press release noted that humanitarian agencies have not been able to get work authorizations and perform needs assessments in the region since the conflict began. It said the hostilities have affected 200,000 people.
Georgieva said the EU is ready to provide more humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence, now estimated at 200,000. The EU plans to free up a further €40 million ($58 million) for relief efforts in South Sudan and Sudan, including in South Kordofan, in the coming weeks. So far in 2011, the bloc has allocated €100 million to Sudan, with €11 million going to transitional areas such as South Kordofan.
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