ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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Aid lorries said to have been seized

More serious and disturbing news. Just as an urgently needed and massive air drop of aid to Darfur gets underway - the biggest since the Berlin airdrop of the 1940's - Khartoum has ordered its officials to stop helping with the aid.

Gethin Chamberlain, a reporter on the ground in El Fashir, Darfur, says attempts to bring aid to Darfur ground to a halt yesterday as Sudanese officials stopped work in protest at the United Nations’ threat of sanctions against the Khartoum government.

The British Conservative party are calling for British troops to be sent to Sudan "in a matter of days". Shadow international development secretary John Bercow said "the Prime Minister, whose humanitarian interventionism I greatly admire, told the Labour Party conference in 2001 that if ever there was a threat of a repetition of Rwanda, Britain would have a moral duty to act. There is, and we have.”

Mr Bercow said he had met Sudanese ministers on a visit to the country last month: “They were in denial about the fact of the atrocities, the scale of the atrocities and the collaboration of the Janjaweed in the commission of the atrocities so I have no serious hope that they are likely to respect the wishes of the UN Security Council.” Their 90 day promise was “nonsense, a smokescreen, a delaying tactic,” he added.

Note - Aug 2: UN body World Food Programme airdrops food in remote parts of Darfur. Refugees receiving food sacks dropped by WFP. It is airlifting food to the "most inaccessible" parts of Sudan's western Darfur region for the first time - and says the food will assist more than 70,000 people who have been cut off from other help because of the rainy season and insecurity. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which says it distributed food to 20,000 Darfurians earlier this month, says persisting pockets of fighting and attacks have made access to people in the region difficult.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/03/2004
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