Sudan government sends mixed signals on aid access

Sudanese refugees who fled fighting near the Sudan-South Sudan border settle in Doro camp in South Sudan. Photo by: V. Tan / UNHCR

The Sudanese government has somewhat relaxed its stance on foreign humanitarian intervention in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. It has, however, once again dismissed the existence of a food crisis in the two conflict-torn states.

Sudan and the United Nations has reached an agreement on creating a joint mechanism that will coordinate the aid efforts of the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission and U.N. agencies, according to two state media outlets. The agreement was reportedly reached April 26 in a meeting between U.N. representatives and Amira al-Fadil, Sudan’s social welfare minister.

Sudan’s agreement to the joint mechanism is the most positive response so far to a slew of calls from the international community for greater humanitarian access in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The United Nations and its partners have been requesting for access in order to boost aid operations in the two states.

But despite relaxing its position, Sudan insisted that U.N. agencies “commit to the directives established by the state in providing humanitarian and development assistance,” the Sudan Tribune reports. Foreign aid groups, the government said, should limit their role to helping local organizations.

The Sudanese government also maintained its stand that there is no food crisis in the two states “for the time being,” the newspaper adds.

U.N. officials welcomed Sudan’s move as a “positive” outcome that they are “very happy” about, according to state media reports. The Sudan Tribune, however, says there are concerns the government will use bureaucratic means to limit foreign aid operations.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.