SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990726]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990726]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 26 July

Little progress achieved at peace talks

The fourth round of Sudan peace talks ended in Nairobi on Friday with "little progress" after the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) failed to achieve a breakthrough in any of the substantive issues. Apart from procedural issues for further talks, the two parties were unable to agree on the issues of self- determination for the south, defining a border, religion and a comprehensive ceasefire, news organisations said. A final communique issued at the end of the meeting said both sides agreed to set up a permanent secretariat in Nariobi for the mediating body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), under the supervision of a special envoy who would carry out a shuttle diplomacy between talks. The talks are to resume within 60 days and will be in permanent session.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the peace committee in Khartoum's national assembly and a member of the delegation to the talks, Abdullah Deng Nhial, accused the SPLA of presenting a "new map" of southern Sudan which added the northern towns of Sinjah and Rusayris to south Sudan. SUNA news agency quoted him as referring to "foreign influence" over the movement.

OLS warns thousands of children at risk

Operation Lifeline Sudan has warned that the failure of the Sudanese government and rebel SPLA to agree on extending the humanitarian ceasefire in southern Bahr al Ghazal state or extend it to other parts of the country "threatened to imperil the lives of hundreds of thousands of children". In a statement issued on Friday, OLS also expressed fear that renewed fighting could trigger "massive displacement" in region already weakened by the 1998 famine. It said the people of Bahr al Ghazal had just resumed planting crops and rebuilding livestock herds. "Renewed insecurity in the region threatens to set back progress made to provide vital medicines, food and water to the most vulnerable," OLS said. It therefore urged the conflicting sides to allow humanitarian agencies "free and unimpeded access to all civilians in need".

CARE disappointed over outcome of Sudan talks

The NGO, CARE-Sudan, on Monday expressed disappointment over the outcome of last week's peace talks between the Sudanese government and SPLA. "It would be nice if a strong peace process could be pursued which would forge ahead and stop the war," CARE Assistant Country Director Ann Morris told IRIN. On Friday, CARE warned in a statement that as the harvest approaches in August, a large movement of displaced people from the country to regional towns is likely. The agency's staff are struggling to keep emergency feeding centres open in Bentiu, Rubkona and Mayoum in Unity State and have battled "major" diarrhoea outbreaks in Mayoum and Bentiu. The statement further said that tens of thousands of Sudanese have been cut off from humanitarian assistance as fierce fighting has limited the reach of aid agencies to all but major towns. "We are very concerned about what is happening to people in the countryside. There is practically no information on what's happening out there," Morris added.

140 dead from waterborne diseases

Some 140 people have died in the past month following outbreaks of waterborne diseases, especially diarrhoea, in the Nile River state of northern Sudan, the BBC quoted Sudanese health ministry officials as saying. Over 1,300 people have been infected since the rains started in June, although the total number of people infected throughout the country stands at 6,500. Health officials said last year's floods destroyed many of the water networks in the state, and with the start of the current rainy season, sewage water has been mixing with clean water in wells and other water facilities. The authorities in Nile River have closed down many of the water wells in the state in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease, the BBC reported.

ICRC to inaugurate new emergency ward in Lokichoggio

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will inaugurate a new emergency ward in its Lopiding field hospital in Lokichoggio, northern Kenya, on the border with Sudan. In a statement, ICRC said the ward has 20 beds and a five-bed intensive care unit and will be manned by two doctors and 12 nurses. "Lopiding is the best-equipped medical facility in this far-off border region," ICRC's medical coordinator Pierre Gratzl said. "But it is a field hospital meant above all to provide care for surgical patients and war-wounded from Sudan. Of course, in the past we also treated local emergency cases."


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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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