Khartoum cries for urgent relief aid for Darfur

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Authorities in Khartoum on Monday appealed for urgent relief action under the partnership between Sudan and the UN to meet the humanitarian needs of people in its war-ravaged western region of Darfur.
Speaking during a meeting of the consultation mechanism between the Sudanese government and the UN, Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said, "all areas in Darfur are open to relief organizations".
Ismail made the statement in apparent response to a pronouncement by the UN last Saturday to increase its operational capacity in Darfur, but said such a move would require fast government approval of applications from humanitarian agencies to expand their work in the devastated region.
He pointed out that the government has received a proposal from the Chadian mediator on setting up a cease-fire monitoring mechanism in Darfur, but added that the government is studying the proposal before responding to it.
The Sudanese government and two rebel groups from the Darfur region recently agreed on a loose political framework for further talks over the war-torn region aside from signing a 45-day renewable ceasefire pact.
State Minister at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Mohammed Yousif emphasised the importance of the work of the consultation mechanism in facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid to the largely desert area of Darfur affected by the fighting between rebel forces and the government army.
He said the government was ready to grant entry visas and permissions to employees of humanitarian aid organizations prepared to operate in Darfur.
More than 1 million people had to flee from their homes since the crisis started in Darfur in February 2003.
Many fled to neighbouring Chad, the UN said.

03 may 2004 19:01:00

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