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Sudan urges pressure on SPLM-N rebels to carry out vaccination campaign

October 10, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese interior minister Ibrahim Mahmoud has urged to put pressures on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) to accept the start of polio vaccination campaign for children under five years in the rebel held areas in southern and southern east regions.

A Sudanese Red Crescent employee vaccinates a boy against polio. (File/AFP)

The SPLM-N said willing to cooperate with the UN agencies to carry out this vaccination campaign but refused the participation of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and its employees saying they are security agents.

The rebel group recently agreed to bring the vaccine from Khartoum but demanded direct discussions on a humanitarian cessation of hostilities for the conduct of the operation. Khartoum refuses to hold direct talks saying such measures can be brokered by the UN.

Ibrahim who is currently in New York said in a press statement released in Khartoum on Thursday that he discussed the humanitarian situation in Sudan with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos.

He further said he pointed out his government’s readiness to start the vaccination operation and demanded to pressurize the rebel group to accept a plan agreed with the members of the tripartite initiative to begin its implementation.

HAC chairman Suleiman Abdel Rahman Suleiman said last week he agreed with the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Ali Al-Za’atari, and the envoys of the African Union and Arab league to start the vaccination in November.

The SPLM-N refuses to hold political talks limited discuss peace in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states to end the two year conflict there.

The leadership council of the rebel group said in a statement released Wednesday following that they will only accept a comprehensive process including all the political forces to settle the regional conflicts but also to discuss the establishment of a democratic regime in Sudan.

Without what "we will tirelessly work to overthrow the regime", said a statement signed by the SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman.

Ibrahim also said he discussed with Amos the repatriation of the South Sudanese refugees, reiterating that Sudanese government is poised to facilitate their return but underlined the luck of needed funding.

(ST)