UN may get aid monitors for Sudan
19 January 2012, 10:11
New York - The United Nations may ask international observers to
monitor aid going into two conflict-stricken regions of Sudan following
government claims that it is being diverted to rebels, a UN official
said on Wednesday.
The UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the
United Nations is negotiating with the African Union and Arab League
about providing observers in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
United Nations has backed statements by the United States that there
could be a famine in the two states unless urgent aid is allowed in. The
United States has said more than 500 000 people have already been
displaced or seriously affected by the crisis.
Amos told reporters
the main concern was for civilians in areas held by SPLM-North rebels
who are battling government forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
United Nations has been negotiating with Sudan to get access from
government areas into zones held by the SPLM-North, which used to be
allied with the South Sudanese rebels who formally set up a separate
nation last year.
She said a a new request to Khartoum will respond to "the concerns of the government of Sudan about diversion of aid".
are discussing with our colleagues in the African Union and the League
of Arab States, ways in which we can utilize monitors to perhaps give
the government of Sudan the confidence that they are looking for," Amos
Sudan's UN ambassador on Tuesday accused international aid
workers of using UN flights to carry arms and ammunition for rebels
fighting government forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
told AFP there was "no evidence" of UN flights carrying material for
rebels and that Sudan had never provided information to back the claim.
US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Tuesday that
the government's refusal to allow aid groups access to South Kordofan
and Blue Nile risked causing a famine from March.
Sudan of instituting a "deliberate policy" of blocking aid organisations
and said that if the famine started, the UN Security Council would have
to consider "options" to help the stricken populations of the two
Amos said she had stressed in talks in Khartoum two weeks
ago "that we are extremely concerned by the high levels of malnutrition
that we see in refugees who have crossed the borders from South Kordofan
and Blue Nile into South Sudan."
She said data from UN staff in
the region supports that given by a private researchers. Food stocks are
"deteriorating to such an extent that we could in March reach famine
conditions", Amos said.
Tens of thousands of people have fled the conflict and now live in camps in neighbouring South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Kordofan, a key oil producing zone, remained under Khartoum's
administration when South Sudan became independent in July. A government
offensive against the rebels has mounted since June.