Sudan Allows Deliveries Of Rations Containers To Darfur Peacekeepers

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Sudan on Wednesday began releasing containers of rations destined for international peacekeepers serving in Darfur that had been blocked in a port terminal for weeks, UN officials said.

A first batch of 52 containers out of the 190 blocked at Port Sudan were released and the remainder were expected to be cleared for delivery, UN officials said.

Last week, the United Nations and Britain had raised alarm over Khartoum's refusal to allow clearance for the containers, with the UN spokesman warning that food supplies were getting worryingly low.

The row was the latest example of tensions between Khartoum and the joint UN-African Union force that has been deployed in Darfur since 2007.

More than 17,000 troops and police are deployed in Darfur as part of the UNAMID mission tasked with protecting civilians.

Darfur has been engulfed by violence since insurgents rose up against Khartoum's rule 12 years ago.

The conflict has left more than 300,000 dead and driven 2.5 million people from their homes.

Sudan has repeatedly demanded that the United Nations adopt an "exit strategy" for the Darfur mission, arguing there is no open warfare in the region, but rather tribal clashes.

But Britain and the United States maintain it is too soon for UNAMID to wind down its mission, and the Security Council in June renewed its mandate for a year.

Source: AFP
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