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Rice Critical of Sudan Aid Delay & Oil Deal Linkage, No Push for Aid from South

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 6 -- In Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, humanitarian aid has yet to be delivered. After the UN Security Council receivedyet another briefing Thursday morning by envoy Haile Menkerios, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Rice about Sudan's position that aid cannot be delivered by air, much less from neighboring South Sudan.

  Ambassador Rice said that this must be resolved closer to the source, not here from New York, but that the key is access.  Transcript, and that of German PR Wittig, below.

 She said the the best way to deliver aid varies by season. She also criticized Sudan for saying that its oil agreement with South Sudan will not be implemented until all other issues, including Abyei, are resolved.

  The day previous, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesman what OCHA is doing in the Two Areas:

Inner City Press: In Sudan, there is that tripartite agreement to deliver humanitarian aid to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile; seems like it’s been delayed. And now, Sudan has said it’s absolutely opposed to delivering aid through South Sudan or by air. Since the United Nations is obviously involved in this and has been reporting on the needs there, what’s its response to that? How do they think the aid should be... is that a sufficient response by Sudan and what should be done?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I will check with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Some four hours later, the following answer arrived:

Subject: Your question on Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Regarding your question on humanitarian aid, OCHA says that it has requested the Government of Sudan to allow aid to go through Sudan itself to affected communities in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

As with certain other recent UN answers, it is not entirely clear what this means. But given the question asked, it seems to mean that the UN has not even asked that aid be allowed in from South Sudan, where the UN has a large peacekeeping mission. Perhaps that is realistic. But if the UN doesn't even ask....

Watch this site.

Transcripts: US Mission

Inner City Press: On the Two Areas, if you don't mind. Sudan has said that it's against any delivery of aid by air-that it says everything must be by land through El Obeid. It's obviously against any delivery from the South. Does the U.S. think it should be-is there some kind of-do you agree with those two positions that they have?

Ambassador Rice: I think the issue with respect to the Two Areas remains the same. The concern is about providing adequate access for humanitarian actors, and I don't think it's worthwhile for governments sitting back here speaking from New York to get into the fine details of how that's best implemented. I think that's an issue for the humanitarian implementers, the humanitarian actors working with both the SPLM-North and the government of Khartoum. In different seasons, the most efficient methods of transmitting and delivering humanitarian assistance may vary, but I think the point is that the access be continuous and unimpeded rather than for I or others to get into proscribing how it ought to be effected on the ground.

German Mission:

[Inner City Press Q. on humanitarian situation in the two areas]

Wittig: "I think there was an awareness that this is an acute crisis. Mr. Menkerios drove home the message to us and to the parties that all concerned should not view this humanitarian crisis in terms of a technical process of negotiation. Everybody wants the tripartite agreement to be implemented, to be accepted, but what is needed is access to the people in need. There is a general awareness of that need - and this was the message of Mr. Menkerios. Thank you."

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