Monday, February 20, 2017

Sudan's president accompanies UAE's rulers to defense show

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir. (AFP, File pictures)
Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir. (AFP, File pictures)

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Abu Dhabi — Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has accompanied two of the United Arab Emirates' most-powerful rulers to a defence show.

Al-Bashir was flanked by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the event Sunday.

They watched a military demonstration that included explosions, jet fighters and helicopters at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference, known by the acronym IDEX. The event happens every two years in Abu Dhabi, the UAE's capital.

Al-Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup and is the only sitting head of state facing genocide charges at the International Criminal Court.

US President Barack Obama issued an executive order in January to permanently revoke a broad range of American sanctions on Sudan after a six-month waiting period.

Stay away from oil fields, S. Sudan rebels warn oil workers

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February 19, 2017 (PAGAK) – South Sudanese rebels have warned international oil workers from re-opening oil facilities in South Sudan’s oil-producing territories, saying they risk losing their lives.

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A worker at the power plant of an oil processing facility in South Sudan’s Unity state on 22 April 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
South Sudan said it deployed more troops in preparation for resumption of oil production in areas where activities stopped due to the December 2013 outbreak of conflict, which badly affected production in its Unity state and parts of the Upper Nile region.

The head of Nilepet, the country’s national oil company, Machar Ader Achiek, disclosed on Thursday last week that government hopes production resumes after preparations are fully completed.

But the armed opposition deputy chief of administration, James Koang Chuol advised oil workers to avoid the oil field areas.

“I would like to warn both national and international oil workers to disown calls by the government to go and work in oil fields. For your own safety, we are calling everyone not step in all areas with oil productions,” Koang said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

“Oil workers must face the risk of repercussion, should they ignore our early warning on the resumption of oil production in Unity State and other parts of the country,” he added.

Since its independence, South Sudan has relied on oil for all income—a situation that has significantly compounded ongoing political and economic instability due to fall in crude oil prices.
According to South Sudanese officials, production in the past reached as high as 350,000 bpd but fell after a dispute with Sudan over fees for pumping South Sudan’s crude through Sudan’s export pipeline, which led Juba to halt production in 2012.

South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to the ongoing pricing disputes.


South Sudan trade minister denies fixing exchange rate remarks

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February 17, 2017 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese minister of trade has on Friday denied reports quoting him to have said the government would fix the exchange rate, in a bid to salvage the economy from spiraling out of control and to help regain trust and confidence of the local population in the light of hike of foreign exchange against the local current in an effort to reduce market prices.

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Minister Moses Hassan Ayet (Photo from his Facebook)
Minister Moses Hassan Ayet told Sudan Tribune on Friday that he did not say the government was intending to fix the foreign exchange rate but that the government was exploring ways to address it.

“That was out of context. It was not what I did say. I said the exchange rate was dropping and if it continues it would reach the point where the exchange rate would stabilize and any stabilization becomes a fixed rate by itself, if the market forces meet at the point of satisfaction, where goods would be locally available for our people to access and traders would be able to get hard currency to help import only goods and services which are not produced locally,” said Ayet.

The foreign exchange rate was fixed against the pound until in December 2015 when the government decided to adopt floating exchange rate against the pound. The objective, according to proponents of the proposal was to help everyone have access to foreign exchange market.

Ayet, who visited the market on Thursday in a bid to carry out a survey to gain insight about the prices of different commodities, said the survey gave him and his team the opportunity to gather firsthand information about the prices and what the traders were facing in the light of the current economic situation.

“Yes, I was in the market to conduct a survey and to talk to the traders. I wanted to know the cause of the rise of prices while the exchange rate was dropping. The other day, the dollar went up. It was exchanging at the rate of 13,000 per 100 dollars but it went down the next day to 10,000 per 100 dollars but the prices never dropped. They remained fixed. This was what I wanted to understand so that we could it use in our planning,” explained Minister Ayet.

The official said it was important to gather the views of the traders as they are important stakeholders and so his ministry appreciates their involvement and cooperation and coordination.


South Sudan Activist Criticizes Comments by Peace Monitor

FILE - Former president of Botswana and head of the organization monitoring South Sudan's shaky 2015 peace deal, Festus Mogae, is seen at a climate change conference in Algiers, Algeria, Nov. 19, 2008.
FILE - Former president of Botswana and head of the organization monitoring South Sudan's shaky 2015 peace deal, Festus Mogae, is seen at a climate change conference in Algiers, Algeria, Nov. 19, 2008.

The head of the organization monitoring South Sudan's shaky 2015 peace deal has sparked controversy by saying rebels who fought the administration of President Salva Kiir should return to Juba, South Sudan. 
Former Botswana president Festus Mogae chairs the Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Commission, or JMEC, which oversees the deal between President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.
Mogae recently told the British Broadcasting Corporation that Machar, a former South Sudanese vice president, should not return to the capital, Juba. Machar fled South Sudan in July during clashes between the government and opposition forces that killed some 300 people.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir addresses delegates during the swearing-in ceremony of First Vice President Taban Deng Gai at the Presidential Palace in Juba, July 26, 2016.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir addresses delegates during the swearing-in ceremony of First Vice President Taban Deng Gai at the Presidential Palace in Juba, July 26, 2016.

Remarks draw criticism

Mogae's comments drew a sharp reaction from Remember Miamingi, a South Sudanese activist and international human rights expert on the faculty of the University of Pretoria's law department.

Miamingi, a lecturer, told VOA the remarks by Mogae show favoritism toward the government of South Sudan.

“He called on the other parties to the agreement who are fighting right now in South Sudan to surrender, come to Juba and ask the president (Kiir) to grant them amnesty. Now this will indicate to me that JMEC has taken sides with the government,” he said.

However, JMEC Strategic Communications Advisor Richard Bailey told VOA Saturday "President Mogae did not, and would never, use the word "surrender" in any South Sudan context. Any accusation to the contrary would be entirely false."

Rejection of bias charges

Miamingi said by echoing the position of the government of South Sudan on the current conflict, the peace monitoring body risks its credibility. “JMEC then can no longer be a neutral, impartial and an objective referee in a process where it has already taken sides,” he said.

But the JMEC spokesman rejected that assertion of bias.

"JMEC entirely rejects any accusation of bias or partiality in its role in South Sudan. JMEC reports fairly and clearly, attributing responsibility wherever it is appropriate," Bailey said.

"In the BBC interview to which Mr. Miamingi refers, President Mogae clearly stated the position of the International Community and IGAD with regard to Dr. Riak Machar - not any personal view. He also clearly stated that JMEC believes the representation of the Opposition within the current political process to be "inadequate," the JMEC spokesman added.

The peace deal brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development. or IGAD, stipulated institutional reforms to address the root cause of the power struggle within South Sudan's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, which resulted in bitter fighting between supporters of President Kiir and his former deputy, Machar, in December 2013.
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks during an interview in Nairobi, Kenya, July 8, 2015.
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks during an interview in Nairobi, Kenya, July 8, 2015.

Decisions questioned

JMEC succeeded in pushing the parties in the conflict to form the Transitional Government of National Unity after the peace deal was signed in August 2015. Mogae convinced rebel leader Machar to return to Juba eight months later.

But Miamingi said JMEC has no moral grounds to make decisions on behalf of the South Sudanese people.

“When we have not heard from AU (African Union), when we have not heard from IGAD, that the region has decided that one of the main parties to the agreement led by Dr. Riek Machar is barred from returning to South Sudan, is that in the interest of the peace agreement?” he said.

The way forward

President Kiir has been telling both local and international reporters since the deadly July fighting in the capital that he will only allow Machar to return to Juba if the rebel leader denounces violence.

Miamingi said JMEC has failed in its obligations to identify the main guilty party violating the peace agreement, and suggested Mogae leave the country.

“The most honorable thing for (former) President Festus Mogae to do and JMEC, is to tell the South Sudanese people and (the) international community that we have tried our best, we have failed and therefore resign and leave,” he said.

However, the JMEC official said,"There is no interpretation of this (BBC) interview (with Mogae), nor any public JMEC statements that can substantiate claims of bias."

Sudan: 'AUHIP Should Heed Collapse of Sudan Peace Roadmap' - Think-Tank

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Kampala — After a six-month gap of direct meetings between the Sudanese government and the country's holdout rebel movements, the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) has resumed its efforts in reaching a comprehensive peace in the country.

In response to the plans of AUHIP head Thabu Mbeki to visit Khartoum this month, the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), a Kampala-based think-tank of Sudanese intellectuals within Sudan and abroad, issued a statement on Friday in which it advises AUHIP to heed the possibility of a new deadlock.

In March 2016, AUHIP presented a roadmap for reaching a peaceful solution for the political crisis in Sudan to Khartoum and the Sudanese armed and political opposition. The opposition leaders operated under in the Sudan Appeal, a two-page document calling for democracy and regime-change, signed in December 2014. The roadmap agreement was immediately signed by the Government of Sudan. The Sudan Appeal forces agreed to sign the document in July.

The first steps proposed by the roadmap collapsed within less than a week of its launching, because the Sudanese government did not announce a cessation of hostilities agreement for humanitarian purposes in the Sudanese war-zones: Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile).

"The demonstrated ill intentions of the ruling party towards the roadmap were followed by a set of actions that indirectly aimed to abandon and slay the AUHIP roadmap," the SDFG statement reads.

According to the think-tank, these actions include:

- The ruling National Congress Party's (NCP) insistence to move ahead in its isolated National Dialogue and announcement of its conclusion and recommendations made, though these were even rejected by political forces allied with the regime;

- The dissolution of the 7+7 National Dialogue Mechanism which was mandated to take part in the preparatory meeting with the opposition forces, and replacing it by a new committee that show features of the ruling party's partners in the new government;

- Beginning consultations and preparations to form a new government with "those present amongst NCP allies";

- Proposing and passing a score of constitutional amendments reflective of the ruling party's interests, while "leaving out the interests of the real Sudanese political and civil agencies";

- Working on a Permanent Constitution without adhering to internationally recognized practices in constitution making, and excluding a number of national parties, while "ignoring the conditions for a conducive environment needed for such a [..] new constitutional process".

Political environment

In addition, the SDFG states, AUHIP and Mbeki are facing a dilemma concerning new developments in the Sudanese political environment. "New developments and facts that are facing AUHIP include among others:

- Broad civil disobedience witnessed recently in Sudan, which reflected a wide popular rejection of the ruling party's policies;

- Escalating violence in Jebel Marra, leading to a large and steady flow of displaced following ongoing military campaigns;

- Continued military campaigns in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the increasing role of government militias in the attacks;

- Repeated unilateral declarations of ceasefire without monitoring mechanisms, "turning them into mere lip services, while government military campaigns continue relentlessly".

- Increasing rejection of AUHIP methods and interaction by a number of important and influential actors such as the National Consensus Forces, the Sudan Liberation Movement-headed by Abdelwahid El Nur, and a number of refugees and displaced organisations. AUHIP's negligence to these forces gravely erodes and obstructs any future solutions."

Humanitarian aid

According to the Sudanese think-tank, the "challenges and complexities of the Sudanese crisis were further increased with a proposal made by the outgoing US administration", end of last year, to undertake (limited) humanitarian delivery by USAID to the Two Areas after clearance of Sudan's security institutions.

"This would give the ruling regime actual control over humanitarian access and the chance to use it as a political pressure tool, "the SDFG says, agreeing here with the stance of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) towards the US proposal.

"The proposal, which was void of practical implementation measures, identified relevant humanitarian assistance as medicines, drug supplies, and medical equipment. This proposal does not differ from the government's proposal, which insists on humanitarian delivery through Khartoum, without making any reference to external routes of medical evacuation or delivery of other humanitarian assistance such as food, educational aids, seeds, and farming tools among other needs of the displaced.

"The proposal of the former US administration is a setback from the previous position agreed to by the Sudanese government. The Government of Sudan agreed in previous negotiations round sponsored by AUHIP that humanitarian assistance can be delivered through neighbouring countries provided they undergo inspection in Ed Damazin and Kadugli [capitals of Blue Nile and South Kordofan]. Moreover, the proposal made no reference to war-affected areas controlled by the government, where displaced are denied registration and humanitarian assistance.

"It was obvious from the haste, ambiguity and the pressure exerted on the opposition to accept the proposal that the outgoing US Administration aimed at achieving an internal political victory before leaving the White House within the context of legitimising its decision of easing economic sanctions against the Sudanese regime, and frame a stand in which the opposition consent to the de-isolation of the regime, despite its continued crimes, wars, corruption, and repression of freedoms."

Challenges and opportunities

According to the SDFG, AUHIP is facing "several great challenges but also potential opportunities, in order to enhance its performance and ability to integrate all Sudanese actors, to ultimately achieve a just and peaceful democratic transformation". It should:

"Search for more effective ways to hold the Sudanese government accountable to its obligations as provided for in AUPSC Communiqué's 456 and 539, especially in relation to confidence building measures and conducive environment. Implementation of content of these resolutions shall lay the foundation needed for a peaceful political process which sets an ending to war and avails freedoms and the launching of a comprehensive and genuine constitutional dialogue.

"Emphasise the need to coordinate the political solution and ending war tracks to reach a comprehensive and durable solution to the Sudanese crises. Past experiences have drastically failed due to sacrificing democratic transformation for peace- making, and only addressed the crisis at the surface level instead of tackling its root causes.

"Revisit its structure and methodology in order to become more effective and responds actively to issues under consideration. In this regard, AUHIP may be called to expand its structures and bodies and to seek, in a formal and real manner within its official and institutional structures, expertise of Sudanese specialists and academicians as well as civil society to work in the core of its daily advisory and executive business. This will feed Sudanese daily life into the Panels' understanding, approach and make its proposals more accepted and appropriated broadly in the Sudanese context, and for different Sudanese political and civil forces.

"Expand its international and regional partners, from neighboring and European countries, and to officially get the assistance of parties concerned with Sudan. Moreover, regional, and international organizations i.e. EU, the Troika, and the UN must be clearly and tangibly involved in the operations of the Panel, as they have significant pressure capabilities. Creating a formal AUHIP partners' forum may bring a new energy and power to the panel multiple roles.

"Affirm its presence on the ground by having permanent staff and representatives in Khartoum, amongst refugees and displaced, and within the diaspora with exiled opposition. A major cause for political and civil opposition's loss of confidence in the Panel was the seasonality of meeting with these influential powers. Stable presence and representation of the Panel on the ground enhances its ability to get first-hand information and get engaged with socio- political realities of the Sudanese crisis.

"Adopt a clear approach on how to deal equally with all parties to the Sudanese conflicts. Being aware that the apparent rapprochement with the ruling NCP as the de facto government, compared to lesser interaction with other opposition forces, tarnishes its image with many negatives, as it portrays the Panel and President Mbeki to be silently or tacitly endorsing organised and continuous crimes committed by the regime throughout the past 27 years since it took over power through a coup in 1989," the statement concludes.

The SDFG is a coalition of democrats, activists, trade unionists, and academic Sudanese men and women representing different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The main agenda of the initiative is to voice the concerns of voiceless Sudanese people across the country concerning questions of democratisation, peace, justice, and development in Sudan. The SDFG is connected to other initiatives formed by Sudanese people in various centres across Sudan.

Farooq Basha first Indian victim of civil war; Swaraj responds to request for help

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An Indian national, Syed Farooq Basha, was shot dead by rebel fighters in South Sudan on Saturday, diplomatic sources have confirmed.

The incident occurred some 900 km from the South Sudan capital of Juba.

“Syed Farooq Basha was driving through the disputed region of Abyei, when he was shot dead in an attack that injured his driver. This is the first casualty of an Indian in the civil war, which began last year,” said a senior source at the Indian Embassy in Juba.

Mr. Basha, who hails from Gangavati in Koppal district of Karnataka, was employed with Omaski Sai Infrastructure Co Ltd., which is involved in drilling wells for water in the region.

Abyei is an energy-rich region between Sudan and South Sudan which remains disputed. The identity of the killers of Mr Basha is not yet known though reports suggest that he was targeted by one of the rebel groups fighting the government of South Sudan.

“We have spoken to the family of Syed Farooq Basha and promised all help,” said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a social media post, responding to requests from his family.

India launched “Operation Sankat Mochan” under the leadership of Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, in July 2016 to evacuate nationals caught in the escalating civil war, however only 154 chose to be evacuated as hundreds remained behind as the civil war paused for a while.

A family member of Mr Basha told The Hindu from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, that he was aware of the dangers involved but had handled it well over the last two years. “He had been staying there for more than two years and we knew of the risks. The rebels control some territory in that region and he had avoided them so far. But the incident has come as a shock for us,” said one of his relatives.

 South Sudan is caught between a border dispute with its northern neighbour Sudan, and is facing an internal power battle between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.

Some 400,000 people sign petition for Czech imprisoned in Sudan

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20 February 2017
Bratislava, Feb 17 (CTK) - Some 400,000 people from all over the world have signed a petition for the release of Czech Petr Jasek, whom a Sudanese court sent to prison for more than 20 years for espionage and subversion in January, the CitizenGO international organisation's Slovak branch told CTK Friday.

Christian activist Jasek was arrested in Sudan in 2015. Czech diplomacy says he was there on a missionary expedition aimed to help local Christians.

The Sudanese authorities charged him and another three Africans with seven crimes.
While the Czech Foreign Ministry says Jasek was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, his defence lawyer Umar Faruk claims his client was given 24 years.

Jasek was convicted of entering Sudan without a visa, espionage, taking photos in military zones and fomenting hatred between local communities, Faruk said.

CitizenGo has reported that Jasek had been sentenced to 23 years and six months and a fine of 100,000 Sudanese pounds, an equivalent of almost 400,000 crowns.

The Release International organisation writes on its website that the four persons were prosecuted for financing anti-government movements in Darfur and South Kordofan, but in fact they only wanted to help a student from Darfur who suffered burns during a demonstration.

Jasek brought a 5,000-dollar gift for the costs of the burnt student's treatment, human rights advocates say.

The CitizenGo's petition with 400,000 signatures is addressed to the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner, whose office has already received it, and the Sudanese government.

($1=25.360 crowns)

Sudan hosts more than 300,000 South Sudanese refugees: UN

February 18, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - More than 300,000 people have arrived in Sudan since the beginning of the South Sudanese crisis in December 2013, said the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

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South Sudanese refugees cook on an open fire at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in the western part of Sudan’s White Nile state on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
"The number of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan "has surpassed the 300,000 mark and as of 13 February and stands at 305,000 people," reported OCHA in its weekly news bulletin.

Nearly the half of South Sudanese refugees, 131,000 refugees, arrived in Sudan during the past year 2016.

49% of 2016 influx arrived between February and April in East Darfur State from the Bahr El-Ghazal province fleeing food shortage and famine.

29% crossed to the White Nile state from through the Upper Nile state, a small percentage also arrived from the Unity region through the South Kordofan State.

"Over 65% of the refugees are children, with many of them arriving with critical levels of malnutrition," said the report.

UN agencies have noticed also the return of Sudanese refugees to their homeland in South Kordofan or the White Nile states.

Before the December 2013 crisis, 350,000 South Sudanese have remained in Sudan and didn’t return to their areas after the independence of South Sudan.

Also in December 2014, the Sudanese government agreed with the UN to deliver residence permits to South Sudanese refugees enabling them to circulate and to work in the country.

The failure of the peace agreement mediated by, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the continuation of clashes in different parts of the country pushed the UNHCR to anticipate the arrival of more refugees across the 2000 km long border between the two countries.

"The planning figure for 2017 is an estimated 60,000 additional refugees, with the corresponding response outlined in the South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2017," said OCHA.

Following the resumption of armed clashes in Juba last July, IGAD leaders agreed to give President Salva Kiir the time to implement the content of the August 2015 peace agreement and to keep his rival and former First Vice President Riek Machar outside the region in South African.

However, the continuation of the war in different regions in the country and the absence of prospects for a viable settlement, push aid agencies to consider long-term humanitarian plans for the internally displaced people and refugees in neighbouring countries alike.


South Sudan military officials quit over 'war crimes'

A brigadier general and colonel detail atrocities in damning resignation letters addressed to president.

South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 when President Kiir fired his deputy, Machar [Reuters]
Two top officials overseeing South Sudan's military courts have resigned, saying high-level interference made it impossible to discipline soldiers accused of rape and murder amid the nation's civil war.

The resignations of Brigadier General Henry Oyay Nyago and Colonel Khalid Ono Loki, according to a letter seen by various media networks, follow the resignations of a general and the minister of labour earlier this week.

Oil-rich South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

Since then, fighting has increasingly fractured the world's youngest country along ethnic lines, leading the UN to warn that the violence was setting the stage for genocide.

Nyago, advocate general and director of military justice, became the latest military official to pen a damning resignation letter, accusing the government of atrocities in the civil war.

"Your regime committed sundry war crimes... genocidal acts and ethnic cleansing," Nyago wrote, accusing Kiir of ordering the killing of civilians not belonging to the Dinka group, and overlooking crimes committed by the Dinka in various probes into violence.
"I cannot continue to be silent or taciturn when you are finishing and slaughtering the innocent people of South Sudan," Nyago said, while detailing specific events in which civilians were ordered killed, or atrocities were overlooked.

In another letter released on Saturday, Loki, the head of South Sudan's military court, accused the army chief of extrajudicial arrests of citizens based on their ethnicity.

Addressed to army chief Paul Malong Awan, the letter decried "unspecified and unstipulated arrests and detentions fluctuating from months to years without investigation and scrutiny ... on fabricated cases against individuals of non-Dinka ethnicity".

Loki also accused Awan of dismissing rulings against members of his own tribe accused of murder, rape and theft.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang said Loki had resigned last year but that it had not been publicised. He did not comment on reports of human rights abuses by the military and was unavailable for comment on Nyago's resignation.

The government has previously said soldiers who commit abuses are prosecuted.

Officials have not provided any figures or details on such cases.

Both Nyago and Loki said soldiers were committing crimes without fear of punishment, particularly officers who were Dinka, the same tribe as the president and chief of army staff.

"Rape cases committed and being committed by your army and organised forces have become a daily game ... you have recruited children compulsorily and ordered killing of war prisoners," Nyago's letter added.

Both Nyago and Loki said the president was protecting soldiers from his own tribe.
There are 15,000 UN peacekeepers in South Sudan, but they have been criticised for not intervening when human rights abuses are being committed.

The conflict has forced more than three million of the nation's 11 million citizens to leave their homes, creating pockets of severe malnutrition.

Last year inflation reached more than 800 percent.

Sudan: Humanitarian aid drops

 Link to web article and video here.

The UN humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan has announced that financial aid for humanitarian aid to Sudan is expected to reduce this year despite a review of U.S. sanctions.

Sudan just like many other countries is a victim of the general reduction of UN aid to countries in crisis.

In 2016, the United Nations collected 55 percent of their desired one billion US dollars meant for the support of about 4.6 million people in Sudan.

“We now have as we have been discussing a situation in which Sudan is taking some very positive steps which are recognized, and then normally that would need to be recognized also by increased funding. And yet the surrounding financial environment is one where I am m afraid that it’s going to be rather a decrease in funding,” Marta Ruedas, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan said.

The UN humanitarian intervention this year targets about 3 million citizens and UN officials say a reduction in aid is regrettable because it comes at a time when humanitarian aid has been succesfully channeled within the last few days as the situation is gradually becoming calm.

Humanitarian workers had been blocked from effectively doing their job in Darfur due to frequent clashes between government forces and rebels.

This has left at least 300.000 dead and about 2.5 million displaced since 2003.