News / Africa

US Urging Sudan to Open Humanitarian Access to Conflict Areas

Victims of ethnic violence in Jonglei, state, South Sudan, wait in line at the World Food Program distribution center in Pibor, South Sudan to receive emergency food rations, January12, 2012.
Victims of ethnic violence in Jonglei, state, South Sudan, wait in line at the World Food Program distribution center in Pibor, South Sudan to receive emergency food rations, January12, 2012.

The United States is urging the government of Sudan to open humanitarian access to an area of conflict where aid officials say people are running out of food.  The Obama administration is also pushing for an end to the conflict over oil revenues between Sudan and South Sudan.

The U.S. special envoy for Sudan, Princeton Lyman, says Washington is “extremely concerned” about humanitarian conditions in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile where renewed hostilities between militants and government troops broke out last May.

With predictions of what he calls a “major humanitarian crisis” as soon as March, Ambassador Lyman says as many as a quarter-million people could be one step short of famine.

"This is very alarming to us," said Lyman.  "We have strongly urged the government of Sudan to allow international humanitarian aid - that is World Food Program, UNICEF, etcetera - to come in in all parts, across the lines of whoever is holding territory.  They have refused to do so.  They don't want international involvement in this area which they think is an internal matter and a conflict area.”

Lyman says the United States is working with African Union allies to urge Khartoum to open international access to those areas quickly.

"We are under a lot of pressure if that doesn't happen to look at other alternatives, but they all contain serious risks in doing so,” added Lyman.

In one of those alternatives, he says, U.S. officials are considering sending humanitarian assistance across the border into Sudan without the approval of the government in Khartoum.  But Lyman says no decision has been made to do that because of what he calls the “complications” that could cause.

Lyman told reporters in Washington Tuesday that he believes Khartoum is reluctant to open access to those areas because the government has “learned the lessons of Darfur” - that allowing humanitarian agencies into an area brings more attention to what else is going on there.

Lyman says the United States and African Union are also working to end a dispute between the two Sudans over oil revenue.  The government of South Sudan gained control of about 75 percent of national oil production when it split from the north last July.  Negotiations to compensate Khartoum for that loss have not yet produced an agreement.

The north imposed a $32-a-barrel surcharge on southern oil late last year.  The south this week began shutting down production, accusing the north of stealing its oil.

"This is a very bad situation and both sides could get hurt very, very badly,” Lyman said.

Lyman says an African Union panel of former heads of state from South Africa, Burundi, and Nigeria is “very close” to a proposal to resolve the dispute.

"We are very concerned that this negotiation succeed before too much damage is done to the oil sector and the infrastructure that the South feels they can stop shutting off the production and go back to full production,” Lyman added.

Lyman says Washington is also working to ease tensions between ethnic Lou Nuer and ethnic Murle in the southern state of Jonglei.  The sides have been at odds for years, but recent attacks on each other's villages have caused a undetermined number of casualties and raised alarm.

"This is a situation that demonstrates the tensions - traditional and otherwise - that exist in South Sudan that were set aside in the campaign for independence and the successful independence July 9, but are now coming to the surface, demonstrating how much the government of South Sudan must do to improve both its security sector capabilities, but also its outreach to these communities and conflict resolution and development programs here and elsewhere in South Sudan.”

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir are scheduled to discuss the dispute over oil revenue on the sidelines of this week's African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs