UN urges Sudan, SPLM-N to address humanitarian crisis

By Ayman Elias Ibrahim

KHARTOUM – Adnan Khan, UN humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, called on Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on Thursday to address a festering humanitarian crisis in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

"After almost three years of armed conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, there's an urgent and critical need to address the humanitarian situation in affected areas," Khan said in a press statement.

"We cannot allow innocent civilians to continue paying the price for war, or make the provision of life-saving humanitarian assistance somehow conditional upon political progress," he added.

"What we need now is for the fighting to stop and for the parties to ensure that humanitarian actors have safe, unhindered and immediate access, so that the needs of all who are suffering can be met," Khan asserted.

Earlier this month in Addis Ababa, Khartoum and the SPLM-N started peace talks, mediated by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The talks were recently suspended for ten days to give delegates from both sides time to consult with their respective leaders regarding proposals tabled by Mbeki's African Union High Implementation Panel for Sudan.

Mbeki arrived in Sudan earlier this week, where he held talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and opposition leaders Sadiq al-Mahdi and Hassan al-Turabi.

Since the conflict began in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in 2011, some 1.2 million people have been internally displaced or otherwise severely affected by the conflict, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Nearly 240,000 Sudanese refugees have fled the conflict to neighboring countries.

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