By Jared Ferrie
A Sudanese rebel group said it signed an agreement with the government to allow aid into rebel- controlled areas in two border states where the U.S. says half a million people may face famine conditions.
The accord, signed on Feb. 18 with the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League, will allow humanitarian assistance to flow into the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, said Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. The implementation of the agreement has yet to be discussed, he said.
“Time is running out and people are suffering so it needs to happen as soon as possible,” Lodi said by phone today from Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. “We are not confident of Khartoum honoring this agreement, because we know Khartoum signs agreements and does not honour them.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Jan. 17 that Sudan’s government has “deliberately denied access” to international aid and UN workers in the two states. The next day U.S. special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said about 500,000 people in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile may face “emergency conditions bordering on famine” by March.
Fighting in the states has intensified since South Sudan seceded on July 9 and took control of three-quarters of the former state’s oil output of 490,000 barrels a day.