SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990902]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990902]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 1 September

IMF lifts declaration of non-cooperation

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday lifted its 1990 declaration of non-cooperation with Sudan citing the country's commitment since February 1997 to a "schedule of payments" to the organisation and its progress in "implementing macroeconomic and structural policies." An IMF statement said the board also decided that it could consider lifting the suspension of Sudan's voting and related rights. "Sudan has established an encouraging track record of economic performance and payments to the IMF under the 1997 and 1998 staff monitored programs and has laid a solid foundation for continued good performance under 1999-2001 medium-term staff monitored program," IMF's Deputy Managing Director Shigemitsu Sugisaki was quoted as saying.

Sudan begins oil exports

Sudan sent an inaugural shipment of 600,000 barrels of crude oil to Singapore on Monday, news agencies said. BBC quoted President Omar al-Bashir as saying the exports were a reward from God for "Sudan's faithfulness". He dismissed threats by rebels that they would blow up the newly-opened 1600-km pipeline. A ceremony marking the start of the exports was attended by the presidents of Chad and the Central African Republic, among others. The oil fields have been developed with the involvement of Sudanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Canadian companies.

Sudanese opposition backs Egyptian-Libyan initiative

The Sudanese opposition has reportedly declared their adherence to the Egyptian-Libyan initiative to solve the crisis in Sudan, the Egyptian news agency MENA said on Wednesday. It said that during a meeting of opposition leaders Sadiq al-Mahdi of the Ummah Party and John Garang of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Cairo on Wednesday, they had stressed that a "political solution" was one of the options for the Sudanese opposition to resolve the current crisis in Sudan. The SPLM had on Monday rejected the Egyptian-Libyan initiative in favour of the IGAD peace process. In a statement received by IRIN, it described the IGAD effort as the "only viable process that should continue."

Sudan not in a "hurry" to issue statement on new US envoy

Meanwhile, Sudan's External Relations Minister Mustafa Uthman Ismail said his government was not in a hurry to issue a decision or statement on the recent appointment of US envoy to Sudan Harry Johnston. Sudan "would monitor his movements and watch what happened in the corridors of the Congress and the American administration and would only then take appropriate measures in line with its national interests," Sudanese television reported on Sunday. It quoted Ismail as saying Sudan was neither part nor party to the selection of the envoy. The way the envoy was chosen and the way his aims and functions were defined were "unjust and incompatible" with the spirit and content of the UN Charter on relations between states, he added.

Johnston, former chairman of the US Committee for Refugees (USCR)/Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA) was on Friday selected for the envoy post. "Johnston's knowledge of, and sensitivity for, the complexities of the situation in Sudan makes him one of the leading experts on this volatile region and he will be an extraordinary asset to the State Department," the Director of IRSA/USCR Roger Winter said in a statement.

Federation appeals for flood victims

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Monday appealed for funds and material support for more than 100,000 people in need of urgent assistance as flooding worsens in Sudan. A Federation statement received by IRIN said it had launched a 1.2 million-Swiss franc appeal to support relief operations, as flash floods spread to White Nile State. Weekend assessments had found another 800 houses destroyed or damaged bringing the total number of affected homes in nine states to over 20,000. The severe August flooding was caused by "unusually heavy" and "early rains" which had resulted in the death of some 40 people and the destruction of homes, schools, medical centres and other infrastructure. The Federation warned donors that the disaster "could intensify", saying that the "rainy season still has weeks to run" and meteorologists have forecast that the above average rainfall would continue, the statement added.

So far, Khartoum State has suffered the most, followed by River Nile, North Kordofan, White Nile, Northern State, Sinnar, Red Sea, Kassala and Gezira states. "Red Crescent workers are extremely concerned by deteriorating health stricken communities especially where people are exposed to the elements," the statement said, noting that diarrhoeal diseases and malaria were increasing due to stagnant water. In River Nile state, some 128 people among 754 diarrhoeal cases had already died, with similar reports coming in from other affected areas. "Shortages of medicine are compounding the problems. Sprayers and chemicals are urgently required as well as medical supplies," it said.

Poor weather conditions impede humanitarian work

Poor weather conditions reportedly continued to impede humanitarian operations in Bahr el Ghazal, an Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) report said. Distributions and assessments in Madhol, Marial Bai, Wuncum, Midel, Akon and Alek all in Bahr el Ghazal were cancelled due to heavy rains that have flooded drop zones. It also noted that the road from Kaya on the Ugandan-Sudan border northwards into western Equatoria remained closed to OLS agencies following bombings in that area three weeks ago. This, it said, has hampered road travel into Rumbek and Yirol counties.

WFP to provide food for Sudanese refugees in Chad

WFP will provide food aid for nearly 30,000 people in eastern Chad, including Sudanese refugees, WFP reported. The US $2.6-million project will provide 2,590 mt of cereals, beans and oil for distribution by UNHCR to 23,000 Sudanese refugees and 6,500 Chadians. "The refugees, mostly women and children, have fled conflict between the Arab and black African communities in Sudan's western region of Darfur," WFP said. The refugees had arrived in several waves, starting in January 1998.


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Item: irin-english-1526

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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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