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KHARTOUM - 10 Jan 2013

Abyei co-chair to assess aid access question

The Sudanese Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission and officials from the United Nations in Sudan will head to Abyei today to oversee the opening of ways for organizations to enter into the region through the northern side.

Since the depopulation of the Abyei area in 2011 aid organizations have accessed the population through Warrap state at the southern edge of the disputed region. With increasing numbers of returnees, however, the question of aid access into the area itself has returned.

al-Khair al- Fahim, the co-chair of the joint committee representing the Republic of Sudan confirmed in a press statement the start of the assessment process in order to determine the humanitarian needs of the citizens in the region.

He revealed the formation of a network composed of the national organizations under the supervision of the oversight committee so as to meet the needs of the voluntary return during the upcoming period.

al-Fahim also disclosed the appointment of the high humanitarian commissioner for the Abyei area, Hamad al-Doriek Bakhta.

It was not clear whether the Government of South Sudan had been consulted on this appointment. Last week the two presidents of Sudan and South Sudan decided that the Joint Committee should to begin to establish the Abyei Area Administration.

Radio Tamazuj tried to contact the South Sudanese co-chair for comment on al-Fahim’s statements, but the official could not been reached by phone.