Sudan: Oil displaced allowed to return home

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAIROBI, 5 February (IRIN) - The government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army have committed themselves to "effect the immediate voluntary return" of civilian populations displaced in the country's main oil-producing area, Western Upper Nile (WUN), to their homes.
A joint communique issued on Tuesday said the new measure would include those displaced within Western Upper Nile, those displaced from WUN to neighbouring Bahr el Ghazal, and all other civilians who had been displaced since the signing of the 17 October Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a cessation of hostilities.

The agreement could lead to the movement of tens of thousands of people.

Both sides to the conflict also appealed to the international community to address the "humanitarian crisis" in drought-stricken areas in Bahr el Ghazal and "other areas", likely to mean WUN and Southern Blue Nile.

An addendum to the MOU, agreed upon on Tuesday, stated that both sides agreed to notify the MOU Channel of Communications Committee of all troop movements in Sudan, and to provide information on the identity and location of their own forces, allied forces and affiliated militia groups.

They agreed to allow a Verification and Monitoring Team "free access" to travel in and around areas where any complaints were filed by either side, and that any area captured would be "immediately restored" to the party that had control prior to the violation.

Both sides agreed to suspend work in the Bentiu-Adok road until "the final, comprehensive peace agreement" was signed. They also agreed to take further measures to "freeze media wars and propaganda" against one another.

"The body of agreements signed since mid 2002 should create the best conditions since Operation Lifeline Sudan was formed 13 years ago, for the provision of sustained aid interventions in Sudan," OLS spokesman Martin Dawes told IRIN.


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