USAID chief visits North Darfur to assess humanitarian situation

USAID chief Mark Green (L) meets with North Darfur Governor Abdel Wahid Youssef on 28 August 2017 (ST Photo)

August 28, 2017 (EL-FASHER) – The governor of North Darfur Abdel-Wahid Youssef Monday has discussed with the head of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mark Green the security and humanitarian situation in the state.

Green has arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum Sunday to assess the progress in the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the conflict areas.

Youssef has briefed the visiting U.S. official on the efforts exerted by his government to maintain security and humanitarian stability in the state.

He pointed to the efforts made to collect illegal weapons, addressing the effects of war, improving IDPs conditions, supporting voluntary return as well as mending the social fabric.

For his part, Green said his visit comes within the framework of his government’s interest in the humanitarian, development and services aspects in Sudan.

He expressed hope that the government would facilitate humanitarian access, pointing to government efforts to convince the holdout armed groups to join the peace process.

The U.S. official also mentioned government plan to collect illegal arms, pointing to its efforts to resolve land disputes in Darfur.

Green further pointed to the steps taken to hand over sites of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to Sudanese forces, saying “it is important that the Sudanese police protect civilians and secures humanitarian assistance”.

He stressed the visit also aims to discuss the lifting of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan.

“My visit to North Darfur state comes within the framework of the ongoing dialogue between the United States and Sudan and at a time when President Trump is working in critical conditions until October to lift sanctions on Sudan,” he said.

“My visit to Sudan and to this region [Darfur] was not intended only to inspect USAID projects, but also to see the situation on the ground and assess the needs of the state,” he added.

Green stressed they would continue to support peace efforts in Sudan, expressing hope that the visit would pave the road for further cooperation on all levels.

Following the meeting, Green told Sudan Tribune that he intends to visit Zam Zam camp for IDPs to assess the needs of the residents.

The visit of the high-level humanitarian official comes six weeks before a U.S. decision on the permanent lift of economic sanctions on the east African nation.

The unfettered access to aid groups was one of the issues agreed in the five-track agreement reached by the two countries for the normalisation of bilateral relations.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.