Sudan: negotiations continue with the Sudanese authorities to resume ICRC operations
On 1 February 2014 the ICRC was asked by the Sudanese authorities to suspend its activities. Discussions are currently ongoing with the Sudanese authorities to resume its operations. Interview with Eric Marclay, head of the ICRC's operations for East Africa.
What are the latest developments after the suspension of the ICRC's activities?
We have had several meetings with Sudanese authorities in Sudan and in Geneva, all in a constructive atmosphere. We operate with total transparency in Sudan, as in other countries where we are active, and respect national regulations covering the work of humanitarian agencies. However, such regulations should not prevent us from providing protection and assistance when people are in dire need. We are maintaining the dialogue and are hopeful that the reasons behind the suspension will be quickly settled.
Do you expect to resume activities soon?
We certainly hope so, especially in Darfur where fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. We will continue the discussions with the Sudanese government with the aim of unblocking the situation, since a lengthy suspension of our activities would have serious consequences. Some 1.5 million people throughout the country received ICRC assistance last year. Those people need us. We are committed to maintaining our aid for them this year and beyond.
What are the humanitarian needs of the Sudanese people?
The Sudanese people have unfortunately had to endure years of armed conflict. During the last decade, fighting erupted in Darfur and then in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The conflict in the Darfur region has displaced hundreds of thousands of people who need basically everything – water, food, health care and the economic means to survive. A prolonged suspension of our activities will have serious consequences for those in need of help.