Sudan: Access Denied to Foreign NGOs in Blue Nile, South Kordofan

Foreign Minister tells US to Focus on Roots of the Crisis
Khartoum – Sudan will not allow international NGOs access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, the government reiterated Sunday saying it will not allow the creation of a Darfur-like situation.

This came during the meeting between Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti and US Envoy Princeton Lyman in the presence of US special envoy for Darfur Ambassador Dane Smith and US Charge d’ Affaires in Khartoum Ambassador Mary C. Yates.

Lyman said his country intended to send positive signals to Sudan by supporting steps to write off Sudan’s debts. The US Administration announced it would support Sudan with $US 250 million for the coming year and to write off Sudan’s debts estimated at $2.4 billion.

Dr. Qutbi Al-Mahdi National Congress Party (NCP) leader said the Sudanese Government is capable of managing the humanitarian situation in all areas except the areas under the control of the rebel movements.

He blamed insurgency for all humanitarian crises and accused the US Administration of leading a plan to secure access for international NGOs to the areas under the control of rebels.

Al-Mahdi said the Government would not reward the rebel movements for the crimes they perpetrate.

In response to a question regarding Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud’s description of US conditions as illogical, he said “The Americans will never create a climate conducive to the conclusion of any agreement”.

He said the Sudanese Government is awaiting concrete evidence to prove seriousness of the US Administration.

Sudan Welcomes US Congress Decision on 'Save Darfur' and 'Enough'
The Sudanese Government welcomes the step taken by the US Congress to stop supporting pro-Darfur groups such as “Save Darfur” and “Enough,” Al-Mahdi said.
'Save Darfur' is Christian Conservative and Neo-liberal group in an imperialistic alliance to do in Africa what has been done in Iraq. The 'Save Darfur Coalition' claims it is “dedicated to ending genocide” in Darfur.
Under the lofty ideals of 'democracy' and 'humanitarianism,' 'Save Darfur' uses these as pre-texts for U.S. and European imperialist intervention there. The “Save Darfur” lobby has cowed the U.S. Congress and Bush administration by portraying the conflict as a kind of racial “genocide.” Their deceptive propaganda portrays pro-government “Arab” militias as terrorizing unarmed “Black” civilians; and has caused many concerned Americans to buy into the farce.
The “Save Darfur Coalition” spent $15 million in 2006 and none of that money went to aid groups on the ground in Darfur, according to William Reed of Black Press International.
The Enough Project on the other hand, has been at the forefront of pressuring the US government to uphold sanctions that are responsible for the continuing underdevelopment which is fueling conflict. Al-Mahdi attributed the US Congress’ stance to the improvement of the situation on the ground in Darfur.
Addis Talks Stale amid Lack of Confidence

Meanwhile, US envoy Princeton Lyman has called on Sudan and South Sudan to avoid acts that will increase tension and advised them to focus on the peace process.

Lyman has attributed absence of breakthrough at the recent round of talks between Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa to the lack of confidence between the two parties, hoping the two parties would be able to overcome this barrier during the forthcoming talks.

The US envoy indicated that his country welcomed the direction by the Sudanese government for assessment of the humanitarian situation in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan States and that regional and international organizations will be involved in the assessment process, calling for implementation of the assessment results.

For his part, Foreign Minister Ali Karti, has thanked the envoy for the concern of his country with the settlement of contentious issues between Sudan and South Sudan including the humanitarian situation in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan States. He said the situation in these States is the result of war, calling on the United States and the international community to focus on essence of the problem and seek to address the root cause rather than its side effects.

The Minister said the Sudanese institutions are still considering the proposal concerning how to address the humanitarian situation and they will respond very soon.

By Zuleikha Abdul Raziq and Mohamed Abdullah, 19/02/2012