SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990720]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990720]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 19 July

SPLA extends humanitarian ceasefire as peace talks begin

The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on Monday announced it would extend a humanitarian ceasefire for another three months in the southwestern Bahr al-Ghazal region, news agencies said. AFP quoted SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje as saying the ceasefire - extending one that expired last week - would also cover the Bentiu, Panaru and Pariang areas in western Upper Nile state as well as Bor, Fangak, Waat, Akobi and Pibor districts in central Upper Nile. The announcement was made on the first day of peace talks brokered by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, donors warned that it would be difficult to continue humanitarian assistance operations in southern Sudan if this round of talks did not achieve progress. At the opening session of the talks, a group of donors under the IGAD Partners Forum said funding would not go on indefinitely. "We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the current level of aid flow from the donor community would be difficult to maintain without tangible progress in the negotiations," news organisations quoted the Italian ambassador, Alberto Balboni, as saying. The closed-door talks are set to run for a week.

US to appoint special envoy to Sudan

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has announced that President Bill Clinton would "soon" appoint a special envoy to Sudan. The envoy's job would be to "focus on reducing human rights abuses, improving humanitarian responses and revitalising the regional peace effort led by Kenya," a statement from the US Information Agency (USIA) said last week. "This appointment is a clear signal of our heightened commitment to help end Sudan's 16-year war," it said.

Meanwhile, Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail on Friday said his government would "study" the US decision to appoint an envoy, news agencies reported. "Our evaluation will be based on the principle of dialogue and keenness to normalise ties with the United States and the person proposed to implement the resolution," Reuters quoted him as saying.

IFAD development project in north Kordofan

A rural development project to assist close to 700,000 people in Sudan's western provinces of Um Ruwaba and Bara will be financed through a US$ 10.5-million loan provided by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). "The overall goal of the 7-year North Kordofan Rural Development project and the target communities is to assure their food security and enhance the resilience of their way of life to drought and natural disaster," an IFAD statement said. The project will provide farming families, including women-headed households, with technical, logistical and other support for "productive enterprises" through training, on-the-job experience and professional assistance. Objectives include increasing the capacity of communities to plan and manage their own development and improving informal savings and credit systems, the statement said.

Significant nutritional improvement found

Results of a nutrition survey conducted in several counties of Bahr el Ghazal in April/May indicate an average of 22 percent global malnutrition, according to OLS. "This figure indicates a significant improvement in contrast to the situation last year, but pockets of serious malnutrition remain," OLS said in its latest weekly situation report received by IRIN. It noted that Aweil west county still had a number of locations with high malnutrition but said "OLS is addressing these areas."


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Item: irin-english-1258

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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

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