Sudan: Return of Bodies Possible Precondition for Talks, 4/8/99

Sudan: Return of Bodies Possible Precondition for Talks, 4/8/99

SUDAN: Return of bodies possible precondition for talks

NAIROBI, 7 April (IRIN) - The Khartoum government has said it is reviewing its dealings with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). It warned that its participation in upcoming peace talks may depend on the release of the bodies of four Sudanese nationals killed late last month in SPLA-controlled territory.

The two sides are due to meet in Nairobi on 20 April.

An official of the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi told IRIN on Wednesday a decision would be made after a high-level committee review of all agreements with the SPLA as well as the results of investigations into the deaths of the four.

"The government of Sudan is reviewing its dealings, especially on the humanitarian aspect, with the rebels. We support ICRC's call for investigations and also the request for the bodies to be returned to be accorded a decent burial," the official, Mansour al-Bolad, said.

Army spokesman Lieutenant General Mohammed Osman Yassin said he hoped the rebel movement would "respond positively" to President Omar al-Bashir's recent announcement of a ceasefire throughout south Sudan, SUNA news agency reported.

The UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sergio Vieira de Mello, on Tuesday welcomed the decision. "I am encouraged by this positive development which comes at a time when those assisting populations affected by conflict situations are increasingly being targeted by warring parties around the world," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a humanitarian emergency assessment of Ajiep, Gogrial county, by WFP, MSF-Belgium, UNICEF and local counterparts found that around 5,500 people had returned recently from Wau and Aweil counties. "The returnees have settled on the eastern side of the river and are primarily surviving on kinship support," WFP's latest Sudan bulletin said. Plans were being discussed to encourage the returnees to return to their original locations in a bid to ease population numbers in Ajiep.


Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 16:54:06 +0300 (EAT) Subject: SUDAN: Return of bodies possible precondition for talks [19990408]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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