SUDAN WATCH: Oxfam worker in Sudan says problems in Darfur are only going to be resolved by a political process

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oxfam worker in Sudan says problems in Darfur are only going to be resolved by a political process

VOA interview with Alun McDonald who works for Oxfam in Sudan - by Angel Tabe, via Blogger News Network - excerpt:
McDonald says because the problems in Dafur are only going to be resolved by a political process, the peace agreement is a very positive move. "It's definitely a move in the right direction, but the history of agreements on Dafur means that we have to be cautious, take steps to ensure that what is agreed is actually implemented and there is an improvement on the ground, for example strengthening the AU force that is in Dafur at the moment ... just seven thousand troops to secure this whole area, they have hardly any funding, a mandate that doesn't allow them to protect civilians, so we need more troops, more funding and a stronger mandate."

As some speculate that the displaced may go home by the rainy season, McDonald says, "We are not at the stage when we can start talking about return.. People going short distances to the market, collect firewood, short distances outside the camps, are still risking their lives, so they are certainly not ready to travel dozens of miles. What needs to be done is strengthening the AU force so that patrols are carried out in rural areas."

McDonald says the threat of attacks by Al Quaeda is serious, but, "We are not letting it affect our work. There are more than three million people who need humanitarian assistance, so organisations generally are committed to providing that."

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