The Norwegian Government notes with satisfaction that on 17 March, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A agreed to extend the MoU on Cessation of Hostilities and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to Sudan until 30 June this year. The MoU entered into force on 17 October 2002.
Norwegian Minister of International Development, Ms. Hilde F. Johnson, says that the MoU has had a positive effect on the Sudan peace negotiations. It has helped to bring the military situation under control and avoid further escalation. It has also provided a framework for unimpeded access to the large groups of people in need of humanitarian relief in the country. The MoU will be monitored by a Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) that is currently being established.
- Norway also welcomes the fact that the mandate of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), which is to investigate claims of military abuses against civilians in Sudan, has been extended for a year - says Ms. Johnson. The CPMT will co-operate closely with the VMT on monitoring the MoU.
The civil war in Sudan has lasted almost 20 years. About two million people have been killed and about four million are internally displaced, in addition to the large numbers of refugees who have fled the country.