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Sudan Accused of Blocking Darfur Relief

Less than a week after the Sudanese government agreed to allow U.N. relief agencies into Darfur province to care for more than a million homeless civilians, Khartoum has raised new obstacles that could delay the delivery of lifesaving supplies to the area for months, according to a senior U.N. official.The United Nations’ emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, said that Sudanese officials told the U.N. Children’s Fund that all medical supplies shipped into the country had to be tested at Sudanese laboratories. He also said Khartoum has insisted that food and other relief supplies be transported on Sudanese trucks and distributed exclusively by Sudanese charities or government agencies. “Given the almost nonexistent capacity of Sudanese [nongovernmental organizations] like the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, the enforcement of this restriction would have a devastating impact,” Egeland told the 15-nation council on Wednesday. “If the government wants to prevent a famine from occurring, these restrictions on international NGOs and non-Sudanese trucks have to be lifted without delay.” Full Story

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