Sudan

Sudan: Humanitarian access granted for Kassala State, Southern Blue Nile

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NAIROBI, 22 January (IRIN) - The United Nations has made separate bilateral agreements with the government of Sudan and the country's main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, to allow it to provide humanitarian aid in Kassala State and Southern Blue Nile.
Martin Dawes, spokesman for the UN-led Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), told IRIN on Wednesday that in a series of meetings held from 17-19 January in Nairobi, the UN had been invited to conduct interventions in both areas, which fell outside the traditional mandate of OLS.

The UN was currently putting together a plan of action, which should allow aid to start arriving in about three weeks, Dawes added. Firstly, a security assessment and a multi-agency needs assessment had to be conducted.

Describing the meetings as "very positive", he said there was a "real desire to conduct business and improve access arrangements in Sudan".

In a separate development, at a meeting of the Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (TCHA) it was decided to form a tripartite committee comprising representatives from the SPLM, the government and OLS, to improve and ensure cross-line access to aid in Sudan. The aim was to improve access by making it more flexible and more economical, said Dawes.

The committee was expected to meet within three weeks, he added.

[ENDS]

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