A leader of a Sudanese rebel movement says his group is ready to pause a bloody war with Sudan’s armed forces so that people affected by nearly two years of fighting can receive desperately needed humanitarian aid.
“The SPLM-North is ready to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities,” Yasir Arman, secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, said in an interview on a visit to Washington last week. “We are ready to make a cessation of hostilities that will save the civilian population, create a conducive environment for a political settlement and put an effective demilitarized zone between the north and the south.”
The war between the SPLM-North and Sudan’s armed forces in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, located north of the border between Sudan and South Sudan, has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s government has prevented humanitarian aid from reaching those affected by the conflict for fear the aid will end up in the hands of the rebels.
Mr. Arman said the Sudanese leader is committing another war crime by bombarding civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and denying them humanitarian aid.
“This is the ugliest humanitarian crisis in Africa today,” he said. “It needs the attention of the international community.”
Political marginalization of the southerners who chose to stay in Sudan and broken promises by the Sudanese government in Khartoum to address their long-standing grievances lie at the heart of the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The SPLM-North has joined forces with rebel groups in Darfur to form the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which seeks to overthrow the Bashir government.
“We want a solution that will bring democracy. Without transforming Khartoum you will not get any permanent peace,” he said. “It’s just like if the policies are wrong in Washington, they cannot be correct in California or Iowa.”
“It is very hard to believe in the SPLM-North’s willingness to cease hostilities because it has exerted large efforts to establish the ‘new dawn’ front last month in Uganda to magnify the armed confrontation against the government of Sudan,” Mr. Altohamy said.View Entire Story
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Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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