US John Kerry: Sudan to allow some restoration of international aid
Some Darfur aid to resume, but rebels must talk peace: Kerry
April 16, 2009 KHARTOUM (AFP) - excerpt:
US Senator John Kerry Thursday urged rebels in Darfur to engage in peace talks with Khartoum and announced the partial resumption of aid, frozen after Sudan's decision to expel foreign aid groups.
"What encouraged me today was the fact that every member of the government told me that they are ready to come to the table now with respect to peace discussions and achieving peace in Darfur," Kerry said.
"But we all recognized that the rebels must also do the same," he added after talks with Sudan's second vice president Ali Osman Mohammed Taha. [...]
"Darfur, as we all know all have been at the center of events that have been defining Sudan for the world," he said.
"It is also been the scene of the world largest humanitarian efforts supported by the United States and carried out by many dedicated Sudanese and international humanitarian organizations."
Kerry said that, following Khartoum's decision to "engage in a new dialogue with us, some of that capacity for the humanitarian assistance will be restored."
But he stressed: "A partial restoration of capacity is not sufficient. A humanitarian crisis is a humanitarian crisis." [...]
Relations between the US and Beshir have been strained. The United States imposed sanctions against in 1997 against Sudan for harbouring Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.
It bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan a year later, saying the site was used to make chemical weapons. [...]
Photo: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry arrives in Sudan's capital Khartoum, April 15, 2009. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Sudan to allow some restoration of international aid
Apr 16, 2009 KHARTOUM (Reuters):
Sudan has told the United States it will allow some aid back into its Darfur region, U.S. Senator John Kerry said on Thursday.
"Thanks to the leadership of the president's special envoy General Scott Gration and thanks to the willingness of the government here to engage in a new dialogue with us, some of that capacity for humanitarian assistance will be restored," Kerry told reporters after meeting senior members of the Sudanese government.
But Kerry, who heads the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, said more would need to be done.
"Today I emphasized, to all the leaders I met with, that a partial restoration of capacity is not sufficient," Kerry said.
"Time is of the essence to avert a humanitarian catastrophe."
Sudan expelled 13 international aid groups after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in March on war crimes charges.
It was not immediately clear if any of the expelled aid groups would be allowed to return. The Sudanese government has ruled out that possibility in recent weeks.
The senator will travel to Darfur on Friday to see first-hand a camp and meet local leaders and United Nations officials.
Kerry also said envoy Scott Gration will return to Sudan in early May to assess progress and continue discussions.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Angus MacSwan)