Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Biden says 'great concern' over Darfur security

WASHINGTON — US Vice President Joe Biden has expressed "great concern" that security conditions in Darfur "continue to deteriorate" just months before Sudan is to split into separate states, the White House has said.

Biden's comments were made during a White House meeting with former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is chairman of the African Union's special panel for Sudan.

"The vice president underscored the importance of ensuring the establishment of two viable states in Sudan after the south's independence in July and stressed that a resolution to the situation in Darfur must be part of that process," according to an official readout of the meeting.

Also attending the meeting were former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, and former Burundi president Pierre Buyoya, both of whom are members of the Sudan panel.

On Darfur, Biden "expressed great concern that security conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate and are further aggravated by important restrictions on peacekeepers' and humanitarian workers' access to vulnerable populations," the statement said.Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CRS resumes work in Darfur

Catholic Relief Services is resuming operations in Western Darfur more than two months after evacuating its staff. Earlier, the government had asked CRS to leave because it said it could not guarantee staffers’ security. CRS remained in Darfur in 2009 when the government expelled 13 other aid agencies.

If CRS had closed its program, more than 400,000 people would have been without food.
More than 70,000 people have fled fighting in Darfur, increasing the numbers of displaced.

The agency’s work in Darfur began after two insurgent groups largely aligned with African farming communities formed to fight what they claimed was the region’s historical marginalization from the Arab-dominated central government, as well as to lay their claim for a rightful share of the region’s mineral wealth.

The government responded by arming Arab nomads, ostensibly to counter the threat of the insurgency. Yet Arab militias — known as Janjaweed, or “devils on horseback” — also turned their weapons against innocent civilians.