UN Agencies concerned about safety of Sudan aid shipments

Highlights of the Noon Briefing
By Fred Eckhard
Spokesman for the Secretary-General
UN Headquarters, New York
In response to questions about recent reports that the United States Government was considering providing direct food assistance to Sudanese rebels, the Spokesman noted that the World Food Programme (WFP) is the principal actor in Operation Lifeline Sudan, which was created as "an impartial entity to deliver food in a fair manner to all civilians."

The Spokesman noted that WFP has expressed concern that the proposed US policy could "potentially jeopardize their logistics operations on the air and on the ground. They fear they could become military targets if their planes were confused with any new aircraft delivering US food."

Eckhard said the risk of the proposed policy was that all the actors that deliver food aid could be jeopardized if they appear to be partisan. He added that the Secretary-General would like to see UN policy on the Sudan coordinated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.