Friday, March 20, 2009

SUDAN: Fallout scenarios

CAIRO, 20 March 2009 (IRIN) - The expulsion or closure of 16 aid groups in Sudan could worsen North-South relations, stall the Darfur peace process and deter future humanitarian action, analysts said.

The decision, and the 16 March announcement that Sudan would "nationalise" all humanitarian work within one year, have attracted condemnation from the highest levels of the UN and the US.

"The ICC [International Criminal Court] row in general, and the expulsion of the aid agencies in particular, certainly have the potential to destabilise North-South relations," says Wolfram Lacher, a Sudan analyst with the London-based Control Risks Group consultancy.

Though partners in a national unity government since a 2005 peace deal, the North's National Congress Party (NCP) and the South's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) have been at odds over the border demarcation, distribution of oil revenue and timing of elections.

"The [expulsion] decisions were made by the NCP without consultation and against the will of the SPLM and that certainly puts an additional strain on relations between the two parties," Lacher said. "The relations between the two are very volatile, very fragile, and on these relations depends the big question whether the North and the South will go back to war in the next few years." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

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