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Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts

AFCON DRAWS: Nigeria in group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau

AFCON DRAWS: Nigeria in group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau


NIGERIA'S Supper Eagles have been drawn in group D of the competition along Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.

As no team can be underrated any longer in football competitions, Egypt, the seven times champions and Nigeria, the three times winners are still the favorites in the group.

The AFCON 2022 draw takes place Tuesday evening in Yaoundé.

Cameroon will host the COVID-19 pandemic-postponed tournament from January 9 to February 6, 2022. The 33rd edition of the Cup of Nations will be played in Cameroon (five cities, six venues)

Cameroon's Indomitable Lions are in group A with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde.
Cameroon were selected to stage the 2019 tournament, but fell behind with their preparation and Egypt had to take over at short notice.

Below is the full draw of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Group A

Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde

Group B

Senegal, Guinea Zimbabwe, Malawi

Group C

Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon

Group D

Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea Bissau

Group E

Algeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea

Group F

Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

NIGERIA'S Supper Eagles have been drawn in group D of the competition along Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.

As no team can be underrated any longer in football competitions, Egypt, the seven times champions and Nigeria, the three times winners are still the favorites in the group.

The AFCON 2022 draw takes place Tuesday evening in Yaoundé.

Cameroon will host the COVID-19 pandemic-postponed tournament from January 9 to February 6, 2022. The 33rd edition of the Cup of Nations will be played in Cameroon (five cities, six venues)

Cameroon's Indomitable Lions are in group A with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde.
Cameroon were selected to stage the 2019 tournament, but fell behind with their preparation and Egypt had to take over at short notice.

Below is the full draw of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Group A

Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde

Group B

Senegal, Guinea Zimbabwe, Malawi

Group C

Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon

Group D

Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea Bissau

Group E

Algeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea

Group F

Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

Sudanese joint security forces arrest dozens of mercenaries en route to Libya

Sudanese joint security forces arrest dozens of mercenaries en route to Libya

The Sudanese joint security forces arrested dozens of individuals who were on their way to Libya to work as mercenaries, the spokesman for the Rapid Support Forces, Brigadier Jamal Jumaa made the announcement on Sunday. 

The joint security force managed to arrest 122 spoilers, including 8 children who were going to work as mercenaries in Libya. 

Jumaa said that 72 of those arrested will face charges under Article 5 / H of the Emergency Law related to “attacking the Katrum camp, belonging to the Revolutionary Awakening Council, buying weapons, child soldiers, inciting against the state, provoking tribal strife, and armed robbery,” while 50 others will be handed over to the police because there are suspected cases against them.

The Spokesman for Rapid Support Forces considered the arrest of this group a major act calculated by the security forces and informing the people and citizens of the crimes committed against Sudan through the use of youth, at a time when all efforts in the search for peace and the transition period are moving towards safety and democracy.

He explained that the joint force consisting of the police, army, security and rapid support was able to arrest these groups in different areas of Darfur, including Sarf Amra, Kabkabiya and Kulbus.

He pointed out that this work was carried out after the Supreme Security Committee received documented information that a number of Sudanese people were being recruited to work as mercenaries in Libya.

He explained that the Supreme Security Committee confirmed all information regarding the existence of correspondence between two people in Sudan to recruit 1,000 young men to fight in Libya, noting that in February, the Rapid Support Forces arrested a group of 243 people in both El Fasher and El Geneina and were brought to justice.

Brigadier Jamal Jumaa called for the enactment of deterrent laws to reduce these crimes.
The Sudanese joint security forces arrested dozens of individuals who were on their way to Libya to work as mercenaries, the spokesman for the Rapid Support Forces, Brigadier Jamal Jumaa made the announcement on Sunday. 

The joint security force managed to arrest 122 spoilers, including 8 children who were going to work as mercenaries in Libya. 

Jumaa said that 72 of those arrested will face charges under Article 5 / H of the Emergency Law related to “attacking the Katrum camp, belonging to the Revolutionary Awakening Council, buying weapons, child soldiers, inciting against the state, provoking tribal strife, and armed robbery,” while 50 others will be handed over to the police because there are suspected cases against them.

The Spokesman for Rapid Support Forces considered the arrest of this group a major act calculated by the security forces and informing the people and citizens of the crimes committed against Sudan through the use of youth, at a time when all efforts in the search for peace and the transition period are moving towards safety and democracy.

He explained that the joint force consisting of the police, army, security and rapid support was able to arrest these groups in different areas of Darfur, including Sarf Amra, Kabkabiya and Kulbus.

He pointed out that this work was carried out after the Supreme Security Committee received documented information that a number of Sudanese people were being recruited to work as mercenaries in Libya.

He explained that the Supreme Security Committee confirmed all information regarding the existence of correspondence between two people in Sudan to recruit 1,000 young men to fight in Libya, noting that in February, the Rapid Support Forces arrested a group of 243 people in both El Fasher and El Geneina and were brought to justice.

Brigadier Jamal Jumaa called for the enactment of deterrent laws to reduce these crimes.

Sudanese military says repelled attack by Ethiopian forces along border

Sudanese military says repelled attack by Ethiopian forces along border

The Sudanese Armed Forces in a statement said on Monday that it repelled an attack by Ethiopian forces at the Anfal site in the eastern bank of the Atbara River in the Al-Fashqa area.

the Military statement posted by the armed forces on its Facebook page, indicated that it “responded to an attack by some components of the Ethiopian forces at the Anfal site, and the aggressors suffered great losses, and returned them in their wake.”

“The armed forces affirm their right to defend their lands by all legitimate means and will remain vigilant and determined to fulfill their duty to protect the land of Sudan and its borders.” The Statement said

On Sunday, RT Arabic reported that Sudan confronted an attack by the Ethiopian forces at a military camp along the border.

While in in late May 2020 the border region between Sudan and Ethiopia witnessed military tension, as clashes took place between Ethiopian gunmen, backed by the military, and the Sudanese Armed Forces.

Sudan and Egypt are also involved in a conflict with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam; this has been at the forefront of the tensions between the three African nations.

According to the related reports, Major General Nasr al-Deen Abd al-Qayyum, governor of Sudan's eastern Gadaref province, said while the Sudanese armed forces had on Sunday "successfully fended off an attack by Ethiopian forces, there were no losses in the Sudanese army except for a slight injury to one soldier," the governor said in a statement to Turkish news agency Anadolu without further details.

Earlier on Sunday, Sudan's irrigation and water resources minister, Yasser Abbas, told reporters that Sudan did not want any "escalation" of hostilities between dam-builder Ethiopia and fellow Nile river countries Sudan and Egypt.

"Negotiations are the only solution," Abbas said. "Signing an agreement is a prerequisite for us before filling the dam. Sudan has the right to demand it."

Tensions over the Nile river dam have escalated in recent days after renewed negotiations failed produce an agreement over its filling.

Sudan says calling for resumption of new negotiation with Egypt and Ethiopia after the US-led mediation effort collapsed earlier this year.
The Sudanese Armed Forces in a statement said on Monday that it repelled an attack by Ethiopian forces at the Anfal site in the eastern bank of the Atbara River in the Al-Fashqa area.

the Military statement posted by the armed forces on its Facebook page, indicated that it “responded to an attack by some components of the Ethiopian forces at the Anfal site, and the aggressors suffered great losses, and returned them in their wake.”

“The armed forces affirm their right to defend their lands by all legitimate means and will remain vigilant and determined to fulfill their duty to protect the land of Sudan and its borders.” The Statement said

On Sunday, RT Arabic reported that Sudan confronted an attack by the Ethiopian forces at a military camp along the border.

While in in late May 2020 the border region between Sudan and Ethiopia witnessed military tension, as clashes took place between Ethiopian gunmen, backed by the military, and the Sudanese Armed Forces.

Sudan and Egypt are also involved in a conflict with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam; this has been at the forefront of the tensions between the three African nations.

According to the related reports, Major General Nasr al-Deen Abd al-Qayyum, governor of Sudan's eastern Gadaref province, said while the Sudanese armed forces had on Sunday "successfully fended off an attack by Ethiopian forces, there were no losses in the Sudanese army except for a slight injury to one soldier," the governor said in a statement to Turkish news agency Anadolu without further details.

Earlier on Sunday, Sudan's irrigation and water resources minister, Yasser Abbas, told reporters that Sudan did not want any "escalation" of hostilities between dam-builder Ethiopia and fellow Nile river countries Sudan and Egypt.

"Negotiations are the only solution," Abbas said. "Signing an agreement is a prerequisite for us before filling the dam. Sudan has the right to demand it."

Tensions over the Nile river dam have escalated in recent days after renewed negotiations failed produce an agreement over its filling.

Sudan says calling for resumption of new negotiation with Egypt and Ethiopia after the US-led mediation effort collapsed earlier this year.

How Four African countries, including Nigeria are ‘particularly vulnerable’ to COVID-19 - Report

How Four African countries, including Nigeria are ‘particularly vulnerable’ to COVID-19 - Report

Cape Town — South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, says a new survey of factors contributing to the risks which the pandemic poses to African nations.

The seven countries of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Chad, Somalia, Uganda, Egypt and the Central African Republic are the next most vulnerable, according to research done by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC, a research institution within the United States Department of Defense.

It is worth noting that the top four countries named by the survey as most vulnerable to COVID-19 are all dealing with intransigent conflicts, as are most of the next seven most vulnerable. For years, African scholars and peace advocates have been calling attention to the link between violent conflict and social inequities, and the same combination of factors favors the spread of diseases.

Paralleling the conclusions of African peacebuilding researchers, the survey says that one of nine risk factors – conflict magnitude – magnifies the other risks:

Armed conflict disrupts public health systems in affected areas and limits access to basic goods like food, water, and medical supplies.

The degree of intensity and geographic spread of conflict shapes the level of disruption caused for a society.

Conflict-affected populations are also often starting from higher levels of vulnerability with fewer resource buffers than other populations, making the impact of exposure to an infectious disease all the more severe.

The center’s study evaluates the vulnerability of each of the continent’s nations in nine risk categories: international exposure, the strength of their public health systems, the density of their urban areas, the total population in urban areas, the age of the population, the transparency of their governments, the press freedom they enjoy, levels of conflict and the numbers of displaced people.The other eight risks identified are international exposures, health system weaknesses, urban density, size of urban populations, population age, transparency of governance, press freedom and numbers of displaced peoples.

The risks which the most vulnerable countries face highlights “the importance of trying to identify and limit the spread of the SARS-CoV2 (corona) virus at the early stages, before it becomes entrenched in the high density urban or displaced person areas”, the center says.

Three of the most vulnerable countries – Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan – have made potentially significant progress at conflict resolution, or have had successes despite ongoing conflict. The victory against an Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo this year, despite militia activity that killed both United Nations peacekeepers and health workers, was regarded as remarkable among both political and medical analysts. South Sudan negotiated peace between competing armies for control of the government, and ‘people power’ in Sudan toppled a long-lived despotic ruler who had been convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

The survey says that the limited exposure of the three countries to international travellers gives them “a brief window to ramp up containment measures”. The hope of reformers and peace activists is that the same popular determination and courageous actions by Africans in each of those nations can be brought to the efforts against COVID-19. Only Nigeria – of the most at-risk countries – has had high rates of international travel. The majority of Nigeria’s identified cases so far were brought across borders by international travelers or Nigerians returning from abroad, or were among people who were exposed to them, who were found through contact tracing.

Key to efforts at containment, says the survey, “will be enhanced and transparent public communications regarding COVID-19, public health guidance, and candid information about what the government is doing and what individuals should do if they exhibit symptoms. For some of these countries, given their constricted space for sharing information, this will require significantly improved levels of transparency and space for independent media.”

Turning to the seven countries next most vulnerable, the center says they, also, among the African countries with less international exposure. But they need to mitigate areas of risk and draw on areas of strength.

The study says that, initially, international exposure, the size of urban populations and a nation’s capacity to test for the virus will determine the number of cases which are reported. It adds that “subsequent stages [in the spread of the virus] are likely to also exploit other vulnerabilities such as weak health systems, densities of urban populations, conflict, size of displaced populations, trust in government, and openness of communications channels”.

The center points to the fact that the number of cases reported, as opposed to the actual numbers of people infected, will depend on the strength of a country’s public health system. “In fact,” it says, “cases of the coronavirus may be widespread elsewhere, though they are not identified and reported.”

Looking beyond nations with relatively higher numbers of reported cases, it says that despite not having Africa’s largest urban populations, countries in the Sahel and Great Lakes regions “appear to be at high risk for severe outbreaks”. It urges that attention be given in those countries to densely- populated cities and towns, to supporting public health systems and being transparent with the public.

” However, each country faces a unique mix of vulnerabilities that will require a customized response.”

” Much remains unknown about the trajectory of the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa. Many fear that with its high levels of poverty, weak health systems, and crowded urban areas, the virus could be particularly devastating. Others hope that with its warmer climate, youthful population, and experience fighting infectious disease, that Africa will be able to avoid the worst of the pandemic.”

” African urban areas are often remarkably densely populated, creating conditions where viruses can spread quickly and undetected in crowded informal settlements. Urban density is characteristic even of relatively sparsely populated countries in the Sahel, where the concentration of human settlements in capital cities creates high levels of vulnerability. A similar pattern is seen in South Sudan, where inhabited areas average 8,730 people per square kilometer. Urban layouts and architectures in these locations are similar to the compacted towns of Spain and Italy, where the virus has hit Europe the hardest to date.”

” Built-up areas across much of Africa have higher population densities than those in Europe and the United States. Influenza transmission rates in India have been found to increase above a population density of 282 people per square kilometer. The density of many built-up areas in Africa is over five times this threshold.”

” Stay-at-home orders will be particularly difficult to maintain in African cities where many residents lack adequate shelter, sanitation, and the monetary means to stock up on supplies and to stop work.”

” Approximately 80 percent of COVID-19 fatalities have been among people over the age of 60. With 70 percent of Africa’s population under the age of 30, Africa’s youth bulge may be a buffer against the most devastating human costs of the disease on the continent.”
” The benefits of a more youthful population, however, will need to be balanced against other underlying health factors facing many African populations such as malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.”

” Refugees and internally displaced populations may be congregated in large camps with inadequate access to water, soap, or sanitation. Health services are often overstretched and inaccessible. The close quarters typical of such settlements greatly facilitates the spread of any infection once it is introduced. Eighty-five percent of Africa’s 25 million forcibly displaced persons are concentrated in 8 countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Cameroon.”

Cape Town — South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, says a new survey of factors contributing to the risks which the pandemic poses to African nations.

The seven countries of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Chad, Somalia, Uganda, Egypt and the Central African Republic are the next most vulnerable, according to research done by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC, a research institution within the United States Department of Defense.

It is worth noting that the top four countries named by the survey as most vulnerable to COVID-19 are all dealing with intransigent conflicts, as are most of the next seven most vulnerable. For years, African scholars and peace advocates have been calling attention to the link between violent conflict and social inequities, and the same combination of factors favors the spread of diseases.

Paralleling the conclusions of African peacebuilding researchers, the survey says that one of nine risk factors – conflict magnitude – magnifies the other risks:

Armed conflict disrupts public health systems in affected areas and limits access to basic goods like food, water, and medical supplies.

The degree of intensity and geographic spread of conflict shapes the level of disruption caused for a society.

Conflict-affected populations are also often starting from higher levels of vulnerability with fewer resource buffers than other populations, making the impact of exposure to an infectious disease all the more severe.

The center’s study evaluates the vulnerability of each of the continent’s nations in nine risk categories: international exposure, the strength of their public health systems, the density of their urban areas, the total population in urban areas, the age of the population, the transparency of their governments, the press freedom they enjoy, levels of conflict and the numbers of displaced people.The other eight risks identified are international exposures, health system weaknesses, urban density, size of urban populations, population age, transparency of governance, press freedom and numbers of displaced peoples.

The risks which the most vulnerable countries face highlights “the importance of trying to identify and limit the spread of the SARS-CoV2 (corona) virus at the early stages, before it becomes entrenched in the high density urban or displaced person areas”, the center says.

Three of the most vulnerable countries – Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan – have made potentially significant progress at conflict resolution, or have had successes despite ongoing conflict. The victory against an Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo this year, despite militia activity that killed both United Nations peacekeepers and health workers, was regarded as remarkable among both political and medical analysts. South Sudan negotiated peace between competing armies for control of the government, and ‘people power’ in Sudan toppled a long-lived despotic ruler who had been convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

The survey says that the limited exposure of the three countries to international travellers gives them “a brief window to ramp up containment measures”. The hope of reformers and peace activists is that the same popular determination and courageous actions by Africans in each of those nations can be brought to the efforts against COVID-19. Only Nigeria – of the most at-risk countries – has had high rates of international travel. The majority of Nigeria’s identified cases so far were brought across borders by international travelers or Nigerians returning from abroad, or were among people who were exposed to them, who were found through contact tracing.

Key to efforts at containment, says the survey, “will be enhanced and transparent public communications regarding COVID-19, public health guidance, and candid information about what the government is doing and what individuals should do if they exhibit symptoms. For some of these countries, given their constricted space for sharing information, this will require significantly improved levels of transparency and space for independent media.”

Turning to the seven countries next most vulnerable, the center says they, also, among the African countries with less international exposure. But they need to mitigate areas of risk and draw on areas of strength.

The study says that, initially, international exposure, the size of urban populations and a nation’s capacity to test for the virus will determine the number of cases which are reported. It adds that “subsequent stages [in the spread of the virus] are likely to also exploit other vulnerabilities such as weak health systems, densities of urban populations, conflict, size of displaced populations, trust in government, and openness of communications channels”.

The center points to the fact that the number of cases reported, as opposed to the actual numbers of people infected, will depend on the strength of a country’s public health system. “In fact,” it says, “cases of the coronavirus may be widespread elsewhere, though they are not identified and reported.”

Looking beyond nations with relatively higher numbers of reported cases, it says that despite not having Africa’s largest urban populations, countries in the Sahel and Great Lakes regions “appear to be at high risk for severe outbreaks”. It urges that attention be given in those countries to densely- populated cities and towns, to supporting public health systems and being transparent with the public.

” However, each country faces a unique mix of vulnerabilities that will require a customized response.”

” Much remains unknown about the trajectory of the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa. Many fear that with its high levels of poverty, weak health systems, and crowded urban areas, the virus could be particularly devastating. Others hope that with its warmer climate, youthful population, and experience fighting infectious disease, that Africa will be able to avoid the worst of the pandemic.”

” African urban areas are often remarkably densely populated, creating conditions where viruses can spread quickly and undetected in crowded informal settlements. Urban density is characteristic even of relatively sparsely populated countries in the Sahel, where the concentration of human settlements in capital cities creates high levels of vulnerability. A similar pattern is seen in South Sudan, where inhabited areas average 8,730 people per square kilometer. Urban layouts and architectures in these locations are similar to the compacted towns of Spain and Italy, where the virus has hit Europe the hardest to date.”

” Built-up areas across much of Africa have higher population densities than those in Europe and the United States. Influenza transmission rates in India have been found to increase above a population density of 282 people per square kilometer. The density of many built-up areas in Africa is over five times this threshold.”

” Stay-at-home orders will be particularly difficult to maintain in African cities where many residents lack adequate shelter, sanitation, and the monetary means to stock up on supplies and to stop work.”

” Approximately 80 percent of COVID-19 fatalities have been among people over the age of 60. With 70 percent of Africa’s population under the age of 30, Africa’s youth bulge may be a buffer against the most devastating human costs of the disease on the continent.”
” The benefits of a more youthful population, however, will need to be balanced against other underlying health factors facing many African populations such as malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.”

” Refugees and internally displaced populations may be congregated in large camps with inadequate access to water, soap, or sanitation. Health services are often overstretched and inaccessible. The close quarters typical of such settlements greatly facilitates the spread of any infection once it is introduced. Eighty-five percent of Africa’s 25 million forcibly displaced persons are concentrated in 8 countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Cameroon.”

UN report calls for political mission in Darfur, UNSC to meet by march 26

UN report calls for political mission in Darfur, UNSC to meet by march 26

The latest report released on Monday by a joint UN-African Union on Sudan and Darfur has called for a political mission to replace the peace operation there.

The called for the replacement of the "peace operation" in Darfur has raised fears by rights groups that civilians could lose all protection.

The new report will necessitate the United Nations Security Council to meet on March 26 and ratify whether or not to gradually withdraw by the end of October some 7,800 UN-AU troops, known as the "Blue Helmets," tagged the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

According to AFP, the council was originally supposed to discuss the issue on Wednesday, March 18th but the session was suspended over concerns about the novel coronavirus.

"In Darfur, armed violence between rebel groups has declined, but the fundamental conflict drivers remain unresolved and exacerbate intercommunal tensions," the report said. Civilian protection "is the responsibility of Sudan," the report continued.

"A post-UNAMID mechanism may provide advisory and capacity-building support," but if a mandate for the "physical protection of civilians" were requested, then this "would require a very significant deployment, commensurate with the size of the area of operations."

Without such a mandate, "a post-UNAMID mechanism would not be in a position to provide such protection and should therefore not be expected to do so," the report added.

For the post-UNAMID period, starting in early November, the report authors recommend "the establishment of a political and peacebuilding integrated support presence, headquartered in Khartoum."

Kenneth Roth, the director of the NGO Human Rights Watch, slammed the move. "Darfur is not like the rest of Sudan," he said.

"The UN Security Council should recognize that Darfur requires a far more gradual withdrawal and keep a UN security presence on the ground to actively protect civilians," he added.

When UNAMID last expired at the end of October 2019, the Security Council unanimously extended its mission for one year with unchanged numbers until the end of March 2020.

A joint peace force with the African Union, UNAMID has been deployed in Darfur, in western Sudan, since 2007 and has deployed up to 16,000 peacekeepers.

According to the UN, the conflict in Darfur between Sudanese forces and ethnic minority rebels who consider themselves marginalized by the central government, has resulted in about 300,000 deaths and more than 2.5 million displaced people since 2003.


The latest report released on Monday by a joint UN-African Union on Sudan and Darfur has called for a political mission to replace the peace operation there.

The called for the replacement of the "peace operation" in Darfur has raised fears by rights groups that civilians could lose all protection.

The new report will necessitate the United Nations Security Council to meet on March 26 and ratify whether or not to gradually withdraw by the end of October some 7,800 UN-AU troops, known as the "Blue Helmets," tagged the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

According to AFP, the council was originally supposed to discuss the issue on Wednesday, March 18th but the session was suspended over concerns about the novel coronavirus.

"In Darfur, armed violence between rebel groups has declined, but the fundamental conflict drivers remain unresolved and exacerbate intercommunal tensions," the report said. Civilian protection "is the responsibility of Sudan," the report continued.

"A post-UNAMID mechanism may provide advisory and capacity-building support," but if a mandate for the "physical protection of civilians" were requested, then this "would require a very significant deployment, commensurate with the size of the area of operations."

Without such a mandate, "a post-UNAMID mechanism would not be in a position to provide such protection and should therefore not be expected to do so," the report added.

For the post-UNAMID period, starting in early November, the report authors recommend "the establishment of a political and peacebuilding integrated support presence, headquartered in Khartoum."

Kenneth Roth, the director of the NGO Human Rights Watch, slammed the move. "Darfur is not like the rest of Sudan," he said.

"The UN Security Council should recognize that Darfur requires a far more gradual withdrawal and keep a UN security presence on the ground to actively protect civilians," he added.

When UNAMID last expired at the end of October 2019, the Security Council unanimously extended its mission for one year with unchanged numbers until the end of March 2020.

A joint peace force with the African Union, UNAMID has been deployed in Darfur, in western Sudan, since 2007 and has deployed up to 16,000 peacekeepers.

According to the UN, the conflict in Darfur between Sudanese forces and ethnic minority rebels who consider themselves marginalized by the central government, has resulted in about 300,000 deaths and more than 2.5 million displaced people since 2003.


1st coronavirus deaths reported in Ukraine, Sudan

1st coronavirus deaths reported in Ukraine, Sudan

Ukraine and Sudan have separately reported the country’s first deaths from the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to CNN.

The patient who died in Ukraine was a 71-year-old woman from the Zhytomyr region, CNN reported, while officials said the patient who died in Sudan was a man in his 50s who traveled to the United Arab Emirates in early March, according to the news network.
Ukraine and Sudan have separately reported the country’s first deaths from the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to CNN.

The patient who died in Ukraine was a 71-year-old woman from the Zhytomyr region, CNN reported, while officials said the patient who died in Sudan was a man in his 50s who traveled to the United Arab Emirates in early March, according to the news network.

Sudan’s PM Abdalla Hamdok survives assassination attempt in capital

Sudan’s PM Abdalla Hamdok survives assassination attempt in capital

By: Associate Press

CAIRO — Sudan’s prime minister survived an assassination attempt Monday after an explosion went off near his convoy in the capital of Khartoum, Sudan’s state media said.

Abdalla Hamdok’s office and his family confirmed he was safe following the explosion. Sudanese state TV said Hamdok, a longtime economist, was heading to the Cabinet’s offices when the attack took place, and that he was taken to a “safe place.”

The attack highlighted the fragility of Sudan’s transition to civilian rule, almost a year after pro-democracy protesters forced the military to remove autocratic President Omar al-Bashir from power and replace him with a joint military-civilian government.

However, military generals remain the de facto rulers of the country and have shown little willingness to hand over power to civilians.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and it was unclear what type of device caused the explosion.

Footage posted online showed two white, Japanese-made SUVs vehicles used by Sudan’s top officials parked on a street, damaged with widows broken. Another vehicle was badly damaged in the blast. Several dozen people were seen in the site of the attack, chanting: “With our blood and soul, we redeem you, Hamdok.”

The protest movement that led the uprising against al-Bashir called the blast a “terrorist attack.” The statement by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change called on people to take to the streets to “show our unity and cohesion ... and protect the transitional authority.”

After months of negotiations, the military and the pro-democracy movement reached a power-sharing deal in August, at which point Hamdouk took office. The deal established a joint military-civilian, 11-member sovereign council to govern Sudan for the next three years.

Prominent activist Khalid Omar, secretary general of the Sudanese Congress Party, said the attempt on Hamdouk’s life was a “new chapter in the conspiracy against the Sudanese revolution.”

Monday’s blast came less than two months after an armed revolt from within Sudan’s security forces shut down the capital’s airport and left at least two people dead. The tense stand-off between the armed forces and rogue intelligence officers paralyzed street life in several parts of Khartoum, along with another western city.

In 1989, al-Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup and imposed a strict interpretation of religion on its citizens, limiting personal freedoms. The country was an international pariah for its support of extreme Islamists.

Sudan’s transitional authorities announced in February that they agreed to hand over al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court along with other former officials wanted by the ICC.

Hamdok has confirmed the government will cooperate with the court’s efforts to prosecute those wanted for war crimes and genocide in connection with the Darfur conflict in Sudan in the 2000s.

Sudan’s transitional government has also been under pressure to end wars with rebel groups as it seeks to rehabilitate the country’s battered economy, attract much-needed foreign aid and deliver the democracy it promises.

Nearly a year after al-Bashir’s ouster, the country faces a dire economic crisis. Inflation stands at a staggering 60% and the unemployment rate was 22.1% in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund. The government has said that 30% of Sudan’s young people, who make up more than half of the over 42 million population, are without jobs.

By: Associate Press

CAIRO — Sudan’s prime minister survived an assassination attempt Monday after an explosion went off near his convoy in the capital of Khartoum, Sudan’s state media said.

Abdalla Hamdok’s office and his family confirmed he was safe following the explosion. Sudanese state TV said Hamdok, a longtime economist, was heading to the Cabinet’s offices when the attack took place, and that he was taken to a “safe place.”

The attack highlighted the fragility of Sudan’s transition to civilian rule, almost a year after pro-democracy protesters forced the military to remove autocratic President Omar al-Bashir from power and replace him with a joint military-civilian government.

However, military generals remain the de facto rulers of the country and have shown little willingness to hand over power to civilians.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and it was unclear what type of device caused the explosion.

Footage posted online showed two white, Japanese-made SUVs vehicles used by Sudan’s top officials parked on a street, damaged with widows broken. Another vehicle was badly damaged in the blast. Several dozen people were seen in the site of the attack, chanting: “With our blood and soul, we redeem you, Hamdok.”

The protest movement that led the uprising against al-Bashir called the blast a “terrorist attack.” The statement by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change called on people to take to the streets to “show our unity and cohesion ... and protect the transitional authority.”

After months of negotiations, the military and the pro-democracy movement reached a power-sharing deal in August, at which point Hamdouk took office. The deal established a joint military-civilian, 11-member sovereign council to govern Sudan for the next three years.

Prominent activist Khalid Omar, secretary general of the Sudanese Congress Party, said the attempt on Hamdouk’s life was a “new chapter in the conspiracy against the Sudanese revolution.”

Monday’s blast came less than two months after an armed revolt from within Sudan’s security forces shut down the capital’s airport and left at least two people dead. The tense stand-off between the armed forces and rogue intelligence officers paralyzed street life in several parts of Khartoum, along with another western city.

In 1989, al-Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup and imposed a strict interpretation of religion on its citizens, limiting personal freedoms. The country was an international pariah for its support of extreme Islamists.

Sudan’s transitional authorities announced in February that they agreed to hand over al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court along with other former officials wanted by the ICC.

Hamdok has confirmed the government will cooperate with the court’s efforts to prosecute those wanted for war crimes and genocide in connection with the Darfur conflict in Sudan in the 2000s.

Sudan’s transitional government has also been under pressure to end wars with rebel groups as it seeks to rehabilitate the country’s battered economy, attract much-needed foreign aid and deliver the democracy it promises.

Nearly a year after al-Bashir’s ouster, the country faces a dire economic crisis. Inflation stands at a staggering 60% and the unemployment rate was 22.1% in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund. The government has said that 30% of Sudan’s young people, who make up more than half of the over 42 million population, are without jobs.

S.Sudan rebel leader Machar sworn in as vice president

S.Sudan rebel leader Machar sworn in as vice president


South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar was sworn in as first vice president on Saturday, formally rejoining the government in the latest bid to bring peace to a nation ravaged by war.
President Salva Kiir hailed the "official ending of war" and said peace was now "irreversible" as the new unity government was formed after more than a year of delays and bickering over crucial issues.

It is the third time that bitter foes Machar and Kiir will attempt to rule together and the pair have many differences yet to iron out as they form a government that is a cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

"For the people of South Sudan, I want to assure you that we will work together to end your suffering," Machar said after taking the oath and embracing Kiir.

The rebel leader returns as first vice president in a transition government which will serve for 36 months.

Four other vice presidents from the current regime and other opposition groups will also form part of a bloated government of 35 ministers, in addition to 550 lawmakers.

The rivals started out similarly as president and deputy at independence in 2011 but Kiir sacked Machar in 2013 and later accused him of attempting a coup against him, sparking a war characterised by ethnic bloodshed between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer communities.

"We must forgive one another and reconcile. I also appeal to the people of Dinka and Nuer to forgive one another," said Kiir.

A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice president and he returned to Juba amid heavy security.

When that deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

- 'Necessary sacrifices' -

After six years of war some 380,000 people have died, and four million fled their homes, half of them into neighbouring countries in Africa's worst refugee crisis. More than half the population is facing severe hunger.

The deal was welcomed by rights groups, the European Union and United Nations refugee chief, who all highlighted the long and difficult road ahead.

"There are major challenges ahead. In particular, the transitional security arrangements are still at an early stage and need re-orienting," an EU statement said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said "millions of South Sudanese – including refugees and internally displaced people, deserve to see an end to their miseries."

Human Rights Watch Africa director Jehanne Henry urged the new government to "quickly set out a human rights agenda that includes reforming the abusive national security service, freeing abducted civilians held by armed groups, and establishing a hybrid war crimes court in partnership with the African Union".

The economy of the oil-rich nation is shattered, infrastructure and roads barely exist, and millions of children are out of school.

The September peace deal has lead to the longest period of relative calm since 2013 but fighting continues between government and holdout rebel groups in the Central Equatoria region.

Bloody localised conflicts between communities in the absence of a functioning state have also soared.

And, with around 190,000 people still cowering in United Nations protection camps around the country, the UN special envoy to South Sudan David Shearer said he believed that "we will see lots of people once displaced moving back to their homes."

- 'Much more to work through' -

The formation of the unity government was postponed twice by a failure to move forward on forming a unified army, carving out state borders and creating a protection force to assure Machar's security.

A compromise by Kiir to cut to 10 the number of states, which he increased unilaterally to 32 after independence, was seen as key in moving towards the creation of the government.

However the opposition remains reticent about an additional three "administrative areas" pushed through by Kiir.

Kiir and Machar had come under increased pressure from the region and the United States to put aside their differences and form the government.

African Union chief Moussa Faki said in a statement they had shown "political maturity by making the necessary sacrifices and compromise..."

UN experts say Kiir and Machar are both responsible for most of the violence committed during the war.

A report from a UN rights probe released this week delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites" who had gone so far as to "deliberately starve" civilians in pursuit of their war.

It said corruption had robbed the state of precious resources and "made several officials extremely wealthy a




AFP

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar was sworn in as first vice president on Saturday, formally rejoining the government in the latest bid to bring peace to a nation ravaged by war.
President Salva Kiir hailed the "official ending of war" and said peace was now "irreversible" as the new unity government was formed after more than a year of delays and bickering over crucial issues.

It is the third time that bitter foes Machar and Kiir will attempt to rule together and the pair have many differences yet to iron out as they form a government that is a cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

"For the people of South Sudan, I want to assure you that we will work together to end your suffering," Machar said after taking the oath and embracing Kiir.

The rebel leader returns as first vice president in a transition government which will serve for 36 months.

Four other vice presidents from the current regime and other opposition groups will also form part of a bloated government of 35 ministers, in addition to 550 lawmakers.

The rivals started out similarly as president and deputy at independence in 2011 but Kiir sacked Machar in 2013 and later accused him of attempting a coup against him, sparking a war characterised by ethnic bloodshed between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer communities.

"We must forgive one another and reconcile. I also appeal to the people of Dinka and Nuer to forgive one another," said Kiir.

A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice president and he returned to Juba amid heavy security.

When that deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

- 'Necessary sacrifices' -

After six years of war some 380,000 people have died, and four million fled their homes, half of them into neighbouring countries in Africa's worst refugee crisis. More than half the population is facing severe hunger.

The deal was welcomed by rights groups, the European Union and United Nations refugee chief, who all highlighted the long and difficult road ahead.

"There are major challenges ahead. In particular, the transitional security arrangements are still at an early stage and need re-orienting," an EU statement said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said "millions of South Sudanese – including refugees and internally displaced people, deserve to see an end to their miseries."

Human Rights Watch Africa director Jehanne Henry urged the new government to "quickly set out a human rights agenda that includes reforming the abusive national security service, freeing abducted civilians held by armed groups, and establishing a hybrid war crimes court in partnership with the African Union".

The economy of the oil-rich nation is shattered, infrastructure and roads barely exist, and millions of children are out of school.

The September peace deal has lead to the longest period of relative calm since 2013 but fighting continues between government and holdout rebel groups in the Central Equatoria region.

Bloody localised conflicts between communities in the absence of a functioning state have also soared.

And, with around 190,000 people still cowering in United Nations protection camps around the country, the UN special envoy to South Sudan David Shearer said he believed that "we will see lots of people once displaced moving back to their homes."

- 'Much more to work through' -

The formation of the unity government was postponed twice by a failure to move forward on forming a unified army, carving out state borders and creating a protection force to assure Machar's security.

A compromise by Kiir to cut to 10 the number of states, which he increased unilaterally to 32 after independence, was seen as key in moving towards the creation of the government.

However the opposition remains reticent about an additional three "administrative areas" pushed through by Kiir.

Kiir and Machar had come under increased pressure from the region and the United States to put aside their differences and form the government.

African Union chief Moussa Faki said in a statement they had shown "political maturity by making the necessary sacrifices and compromise..."

UN experts say Kiir and Machar are both responsible for most of the violence committed during the war.

A report from a UN rights probe released this week delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites" who had gone so far as to "deliberately starve" civilians in pursuit of their war.

It said corruption had robbed the state of precious resources and "made several officials extremely wealthy a




AFP

Updated: S.Sudan's warring leaders to form long-delayed unity government

Updated: S.Sudan's warring leaders to form long-delayed unity government

AFP: South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar agreed on Thursday to form a unity government, a long-delayed step towards ending more than six years of war.

The rivals have overseen a conflict that has left at least 380,000 dead and forced four million from their homes.

"We have agreed to form the government in two days on 22nd February. We are still discussing on other things and I am hopeful we will resolve them all," Machar said after meeting Kiir.

The president confirmed that they had agreed to a joint government for the third time since independence in 2011 -- an experiment which has ended in disaster twice before.


"As the president, I will be appointing the vice presidents, and I will start by appointing Riek tomorrow (Friday) in the morning and I will dissolve the government today and then form a new government on the 22nd," he said.

"These are changes which will bring peace."

The formation of a unity government was the cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

But it has been delayed twice by failure to move forward on crucial issues such as forming a unified army, carving out state borders and creating a protection force to assure Machar's security.

Kiir said his forces would be in charge of Machar's protection and of security in Juba.

"I have taken responsibility of protection, as the unified forces are still under training," he said.

He urged some 190,000 people living under United Nations protection in tent cities across the nation "to come out, because the dawn of peace has come".

The progress came after weeks of mounting pressure from the region and the United States, which on Thursday welcomed the deal, citing Machar's "firm commitment to form an inclusive unity government" by Saturday.

- 'Deliberately starving' civilians -

Machar was sacked as vice president in 2013 and later accused of plotting a coup against Kiir, kickstarting a civil war characterised by violence, rape and UN warnings of ethnic cleansing.

A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice president and he returned to Juba with heavy security.

When the deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between their rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

The ensuing war drew in new parts of the country and other local grievances and disputes came to the fore.

Experts have warned against rushing into a new unity government before all the outstanding issues are resolved, saying it could lead to disaster once again.


Ragged bands of war-weary troops from both sides have been brought together in camps but formal training of a planned 83,000-strong army has yet to begin and soldiers are cooped up without adequate food and water, an AFP visit to one such site showed.

The other key issue has been the number of states -- highly sensitive because it affects the control of key resources such as oil.

Kiir this month said he would compromise by cutting the current 32 regional states to 10 -- but Machar resisted the addition of three "administrative areas".

However the South Sudanese parliament on Thursday endorsed the incorporation of the 10 states and three administrative areas into the constitution.

Even if the unity government is formed, a UN report released on Thursday highlighted some massive challenges.

A three-member commission looked into rights abuses from the signing of a peace deal in September 2018 to December 2019 and delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites".

The commission said these elites had gone so far as to "deliberately starve" civilians in pursuit of their war.

Three UN agencies and Juba said Thursday that despite a slight reduction in the number of people facing food insecurity, some 6.5 million people –- more than half of the population -- could be experiencing severe hunger by the middle of this year.


Other issues included in the rights report were the continued use of child soldiers by both sides, bloody localised conflicts, sexual violence and plunder of public funds -- all of which continued unhindered by the latest peace process.

"The Commission notes with grave concern that beyond climate-induced factors, both government forces and armed groups have pursued policies responsible for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity State," said the commission, referring to areas in the north of the country.

Meanwhile, corruption had robbed the state of precious resources and "made several officials extremely wealthy at the expense of millions of starving civilians", said the report, which found millions of dollars in tax collections had been diverted and disappeared. AFP
AFP: South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar agreed on Thursday to form a unity government, a long-delayed step towards ending more than six years of war.

The rivals have overseen a conflict that has left at least 380,000 dead and forced four million from their homes.

"We have agreed to form the government in two days on 22nd February. We are still discussing on other things and I am hopeful we will resolve them all," Machar said after meeting Kiir.

The president confirmed that they had agreed to a joint government for the third time since independence in 2011 -- an experiment which has ended in disaster twice before.


"As the president, I will be appointing the vice presidents, and I will start by appointing Riek tomorrow (Friday) in the morning and I will dissolve the government today and then form a new government on the 22nd," he said.

"These are changes which will bring peace."

The formation of a unity government was the cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

But it has been delayed twice by failure to move forward on crucial issues such as forming a unified army, carving out state borders and creating a protection force to assure Machar's security.

Kiir said his forces would be in charge of Machar's protection and of security in Juba.

"I have taken responsibility of protection, as the unified forces are still under training," he said.

He urged some 190,000 people living under United Nations protection in tent cities across the nation "to come out, because the dawn of peace has come".

The progress came after weeks of mounting pressure from the region and the United States, which on Thursday welcomed the deal, citing Machar's "firm commitment to form an inclusive unity government" by Saturday.

- 'Deliberately starving' civilians -

Machar was sacked as vice president in 2013 and later accused of plotting a coup against Kiir, kickstarting a civil war characterised by violence, rape and UN warnings of ethnic cleansing.

A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice president and he returned to Juba with heavy security.

When the deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between their rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

The ensuing war drew in new parts of the country and other local grievances and disputes came to the fore.

Experts have warned against rushing into a new unity government before all the outstanding issues are resolved, saying it could lead to disaster once again.


Ragged bands of war-weary troops from both sides have been brought together in camps but formal training of a planned 83,000-strong army has yet to begin and soldiers are cooped up without adequate food and water, an AFP visit to one such site showed.

The other key issue has been the number of states -- highly sensitive because it affects the control of key resources such as oil.

Kiir this month said he would compromise by cutting the current 32 regional states to 10 -- but Machar resisted the addition of three "administrative areas".

However the South Sudanese parliament on Thursday endorsed the incorporation of the 10 states and three administrative areas into the constitution.

Even if the unity government is formed, a UN report released on Thursday highlighted some massive challenges.

A three-member commission looked into rights abuses from the signing of a peace deal in September 2018 to December 2019 and delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites".

The commission said these elites had gone so far as to "deliberately starve" civilians in pursuit of their war.

Three UN agencies and Juba said Thursday that despite a slight reduction in the number of people facing food insecurity, some 6.5 million people –- more than half of the population -- could be experiencing severe hunger by the middle of this year.


Other issues included in the rights report were the continued use of child soldiers by both sides, bloody localised conflicts, sexual violence and plunder of public funds -- all of which continued unhindered by the latest peace process.

"The Commission notes with grave concern that beyond climate-induced factors, both government forces and armed groups have pursued policies responsible for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity State," said the commission, referring to areas in the north of the country.

Meanwhile, corruption had robbed the state of precious resources and "made several officials extremely wealthy at the expense of millions of starving civilians", said the report, which found millions of dollars in tax collections had been diverted and disappeared. AFP

South Sudan citizens 'deliberately starved' by warring parties: UN

South Sudan citizens 'deliberately starved' by warring parties: UN

South Sudan's president and the Rebel Leader
Nairobi (AFP) - South Sudan's government forces and other armed groups have "deliberately starved" civilians by denying aid access and displacing communities, a United Nations rights probe said Thursday.
In a report issued two days before a deadline to form a unity government, the three-member commission looked into abuses from the signing of a peace deal in September 2018 to December 2019.

The panel delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites" and the suffering of civilians after six years of conflict.

"Today in South Sudan, civilians are deliberately starved, systematically surveilled and silenced, arbitrarily arrested and detained and denied meaningful access to justice," it said.

As President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar met in Juba to discuss outstanding obstacles to the power-sharing government, the report slammed the process as beset with delays and bickering, and "lack of political will".

"Political elites remained oblivious to the intense suffering of millions of civilians for whom they were ostensibly fighting," it said.

Ongoing recruitment of child soldiers by both government forces and rebel groups, bloody localised conflicts which left hundreds dead, sexual violence and theft of public funds continued unhindered by the latest peace process, the commissioners found.

"The Commission notes with grave concern that beyond climate-induced factors, both government forces and armed groups have pursued policies responsible for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity State" in the north of the country.

"The denial of humanitarian access and displacement brought about by unlawful tactics have significantly exacerbated famine in different parts of the country, depriving hundreds of thousands of civilins of vital needs, including access to food."

During the period reviewed by the commission, some 6.35 million people -- 54 percent of the population -- were facing severe hunger.

- Major challenges -

South Sudan's conflict broke out in December 2013 after a dispute between Kiir and his former deputy and longtime rival Machar.

The fighting has left some 380,000 dead and forced four million to flee their homes.

The September 2018 peace deal is the latest effort to end the conflict and push the two men to govern together -- an experiment which has twice previously ended in disaster.

Sticky issues of state borders and security arrangements remain with just two days to the deadline, which has already been pushed back twice.

However even if the unity government is formed, the UN report highlights the massive challenges facing the country -- which only achieved independence in 2011 -- going forward.

Across the country, local ethnic conflicts far removed from the national peace process left 531 dead between February and May 2019 alone, and fighting continues today against holdout rebel groups in the Equatoria region, the report said.

Meanwhile, graft has robbed the state of precious resources.

"Corruption has made several officials extremely wealthy at the expense of millions of starving civilians," said the report, which found millions of dollars in tax collections had been diverted and disappeared.

Both the government and armed groups continued to recruit children during the period reviewed, with 19,000 children believed to be enlisted.

Additionally, some 2.2 million children did not attend school and 30 percent of schools remain closed.

South Sudan's president and the Rebel Leader
Nairobi (AFP) - South Sudan's government forces and other armed groups have "deliberately starved" civilians by denying aid access and displacing communities, a United Nations rights probe said Thursday.
In a report issued two days before a deadline to form a unity government, the three-member commission looked into abuses from the signing of a peace deal in September 2018 to December 2019.

The panel delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites" and the suffering of civilians after six years of conflict.

"Today in South Sudan, civilians are deliberately starved, systematically surveilled and silenced, arbitrarily arrested and detained and denied meaningful access to justice," it said.

As President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar met in Juba to discuss outstanding obstacles to the power-sharing government, the report slammed the process as beset with delays and bickering, and "lack of political will".

"Political elites remained oblivious to the intense suffering of millions of civilians for whom they were ostensibly fighting," it said.

Ongoing recruitment of child soldiers by both government forces and rebel groups, bloody localised conflicts which left hundreds dead, sexual violence and theft of public funds continued unhindered by the latest peace process, the commissioners found.

"The Commission notes with grave concern that beyond climate-induced factors, both government forces and armed groups have pursued policies responsible for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity State" in the north of the country.

"The denial of humanitarian access and displacement brought about by unlawful tactics have significantly exacerbated famine in different parts of the country, depriving hundreds of thousands of civilins of vital needs, including access to food."

During the period reviewed by the commission, some 6.35 million people -- 54 percent of the population -- were facing severe hunger.

- Major challenges -

South Sudan's conflict broke out in December 2013 after a dispute between Kiir and his former deputy and longtime rival Machar.

The fighting has left some 380,000 dead and forced four million to flee their homes.

The September 2018 peace deal is the latest effort to end the conflict and push the two men to govern together -- an experiment which has twice previously ended in disaster.

Sticky issues of state borders and security arrangements remain with just two days to the deadline, which has already been pushed back twice.

However even if the unity government is formed, the UN report highlights the massive challenges facing the country -- which only achieved independence in 2011 -- going forward.

Across the country, local ethnic conflicts far removed from the national peace process left 531 dead between February and May 2019 alone, and fighting continues today against holdout rebel groups in the Equatoria region, the report said.

Meanwhile, graft has robbed the state of precious resources.

"Corruption has made several officials extremely wealthy at the expense of millions of starving civilians," said the report, which found millions of dollars in tax collections had been diverted and disappeared.

Both the government and armed groups continued to recruit children during the period reviewed, with 19,000 children believed to be enlisted.

Additionally, some 2.2 million children did not attend school and 30 percent of schools remain closed.

Locust swarms arrive in South Sudan, threatening more misery

Locust swarms arrive in South Sudan, threatening more misery

Juba (AFP) - Swarms of locusts which are wreaking havoc across East Africa have now arrived in South Sudan, the government said Tuesday, threatening more misery in one of the world's most vulnerable nations.

Billions of desert locusts, some in swarms the size of Moscow, have already chomped their way through Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda.

Their breeding has been spurred by one of the wettest rainy seasons in the region in four decades.

Experts have warned the main March-to-May cropping season is at risk. Eggs laid along the locusts' path are due to hatch and create a second wave of the insects in key agricultural areas.

The arrival of the locusts could be catastrophic in South Sudan, where war followed by drought and floods has already left six million people -- 60 percent of the population -- facing severe hunger.

Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo Nyikiwec said the locusts had crossed the eastern border with Uganda on Monday.

"The report came that these are matured. As you know locusts are like human beings, they send their reconnaissance ahead of time to make sure that whether there is food or not and if the area is good for breeding."

Meshack Malo, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in South Sudan, said about 2,000 locusts had been spotted so far, and if not controlled quickly, could have a devastating impact.

"These are deep yellow which means that they will be here mostly looking at areas in which they will lay eggs."

He said the FAO was training locals and acquiring sprayers and chemicals to try and combat the locusts. It is the first locust invasion in 70 years in the country.

Other countries have employed aircraft to spray the swarms, while desperate locals have employed tactics like banging pots and pans or shooting at them.

Nyikiwec said the government had prepared a contingency plan.

"We are training people who will be involved in spraying and also we need chemicals for spraying and also sprayers. You will also need cars to move while spraying and then later if it becomes worse, we will need aircraft."

Earlier this month Somalia declared a national emergency over the invasion.

The FAO says the current invasion is known as an "upsurge," the term for when an entire region is affected.

However, if the invasion cannot be rolled back and spreads, it becomes known as a "plague" of locusts.

There have been six major desert locust plagues in the 1900s, the last of which was in 1987-89. The last major upsurge was in 2003-05.

Source
Juba (AFP) - Swarms of locusts which are wreaking havoc across East Africa have now arrived in South Sudan, the government said Tuesday, threatening more misery in one of the world's most vulnerable nations.

Billions of desert locusts, some in swarms the size of Moscow, have already chomped their way through Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda.

Their breeding has been spurred by one of the wettest rainy seasons in the region in four decades.

Experts have warned the main March-to-May cropping season is at risk. Eggs laid along the locusts' path are due to hatch and create a second wave of the insects in key agricultural areas.

The arrival of the locusts could be catastrophic in South Sudan, where war followed by drought and floods has already left six million people -- 60 percent of the population -- facing severe hunger.

Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo Nyikiwec said the locusts had crossed the eastern border with Uganda on Monday.

"The report came that these are matured. As you know locusts are like human beings, they send their reconnaissance ahead of time to make sure that whether there is food or not and if the area is good for breeding."

Meshack Malo, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in South Sudan, said about 2,000 locusts had been spotted so far, and if not controlled quickly, could have a devastating impact.

"These are deep yellow which means that they will be here mostly looking at areas in which they will lay eggs."

He said the FAO was training locals and acquiring sprayers and chemicals to try and combat the locusts. It is the first locust invasion in 70 years in the country.

Other countries have employed aircraft to spray the swarms, while desperate locals have employed tactics like banging pots and pans or shooting at them.

Nyikiwec said the government had prepared a contingency plan.

"We are training people who will be involved in spraying and also we need chemicals for spraying and also sprayers. You will also need cars to move while spraying and then later if it becomes worse, we will need aircraft."

Earlier this month Somalia declared a national emergency over the invasion.

The FAO says the current invasion is known as an "upsurge," the term for when an entire region is affected.

However, if the invasion cannot be rolled back and spreads, it becomes known as a "plague" of locusts.

There have been six major desert locust plagues in the 1900s, the last of which was in 1987-89. The last major upsurge was in 2003-05.

Source

Why South Sudan rebels reject president's peace compromise

Why South Sudan rebels reject president's peace compromise

Juba (AFP) - South Sudan rebels rejected on Sunday a government peace offer to return to a system of 10 states, dashing hopes of ending a six-year war that has left 380,000 dead.

President Salva Kiir had said he would compromise by cutting the current 32 regional states back down to the original 10 -- a key rebel demand -- to pave the way for a unity government.

But Kiir also included on top of the 10, three "administrative areas" of Pibor, Ruweng and Abyei.

Rebel chief Riek Machar said he opposed those three areas, saying it "cannot be referred to as reverting to 10 states" and "as such cannot be accepted".

"We therefore call upon President Kiir to reconsider this idea of creating administrative areas," he said in a statement.

Machar warned the three areas risked causing further problems, calling the issue a "Pandora's box".

- Deadline looming -

Kiir and Machar -- who lives in exile -- are under increasing international pressure to resolve their differences before a February 22 deadline.

Machar has repeatedly said he could not return to his old job as vice-president if country's structure of states did not return to its original form.

The number of states is contentious because the borders will determine the divisions of power in the country.

When it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan had 10 states, as set out in its constitution.

Kiir increased that in 2015 to 28, then 32 -- and has now reduced them back to 10, plus the three areas.

He issued an order late Saturday relieving all governors of the 32 states of their posts.

He has said the final matter of states would be debated once the unity government forms.

- Power struggles -

Of the three areas, the most contentious is thought to be oil-rich Ruweng, in the north.
Oil provides almost all of the government's revenue in South Sudan, one of the world's most oil dependent nations.

Ruweng has been one of the most heavily fought over areas in the civil war and is claimed by both the Dinka people of Kiir and the Nuer of Machar.

Abyei, another of the three areas, is a border zone contested with neighbouring Sudan.

Pibor lies in the eastern Jonglei region, an area long troubled by militias and rebels fighting over local grievances.

Kiir and Machar are old rivals who have fought and made up multiple times.

Their latest agreement came when they signed a peace deal in September 2018, pausing the bloodshed that erupted in 2013 when the president accused his former deputy of plotting a coup.

They agreed to come together in a coalition in May 2019.

However, disputes over territory and security arrangements dogged negotiations and the deadline was missed, followed by another six months later.

In November, the pair were given 100 more days to resolve these sticking points. That extension finishes next Saturday.

The eight-nation East African bloc of nations, IGAD, warned last week that any extension beyond February 22 was "neither desirable nor feasible".
Juba (AFP) - South Sudan rebels rejected on Sunday a government peace offer to return to a system of 10 states, dashing hopes of ending a six-year war that has left 380,000 dead.

President Salva Kiir had said he would compromise by cutting the current 32 regional states back down to the original 10 -- a key rebel demand -- to pave the way for a unity government.

But Kiir also included on top of the 10, three "administrative areas" of Pibor, Ruweng and Abyei.

Rebel chief Riek Machar said he opposed those three areas, saying it "cannot be referred to as reverting to 10 states" and "as such cannot be accepted".

"We therefore call upon President Kiir to reconsider this idea of creating administrative areas," he said in a statement.

Machar warned the three areas risked causing further problems, calling the issue a "Pandora's box".

- Deadline looming -

Kiir and Machar -- who lives in exile -- are under increasing international pressure to resolve their differences before a February 22 deadline.

Machar has repeatedly said he could not return to his old job as vice-president if country's structure of states did not return to its original form.

The number of states is contentious because the borders will determine the divisions of power in the country.

When it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan had 10 states, as set out in its constitution.

Kiir increased that in 2015 to 28, then 32 -- and has now reduced them back to 10, plus the three areas.

He issued an order late Saturday relieving all governors of the 32 states of their posts.

He has said the final matter of states would be debated once the unity government forms.

- Power struggles -

Of the three areas, the most contentious is thought to be oil-rich Ruweng, in the north.
Oil provides almost all of the government's revenue in South Sudan, one of the world's most oil dependent nations.

Ruweng has been one of the most heavily fought over areas in the civil war and is claimed by both the Dinka people of Kiir and the Nuer of Machar.

Abyei, another of the three areas, is a border zone contested with neighbouring Sudan.

Pibor lies in the eastern Jonglei region, an area long troubled by militias and rebels fighting over local grievances.

Kiir and Machar are old rivals who have fought and made up multiple times.

Their latest agreement came when they signed a peace deal in September 2018, pausing the bloodshed that erupted in 2013 when the president accused his former deputy of plotting a coup.

They agreed to come together in a coalition in May 2019.

However, disputes over territory and security arrangements dogged negotiations and the deadline was missed, followed by another six months later.

In November, the pair were given 100 more days to resolve these sticking points. That extension finishes next Saturday.

The eight-nation East African bloc of nations, IGAD, warned last week that any extension beyond February 22 was "neither desirable nor feasible".

Sudan signs deal to compensate families of victims of USS Cole bombing: ministry

Sudan signs deal to compensate families of victims of USS Cole bombing: ministry

Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's justice ministry said early Thursday it had signed a deal with the families of the American servicemen killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

The deal was signed on February 7 in Washington to fulfil a key condition for removing the northeast African country from the United States' state sponsor of terrorism list, the ministry said in a statement without specifying the amount of compensation agreed.

"As part of the transitional government's effort to remove Sudan from the terrorism list, a deal has been signed on February 7 with the families of the victims of the USS Cole incident," the ministry said.

"The deal clearly specifies that the government of Sudan was not responsible for the incident or any such terrorist incident and it is doing this deal only to... fulfil the condition put by the American administration to remove Sudan from its terrorism list."

On October 12, 2000, a rubber boat loaded with explosives blew up as it rounded the bow of the guided-missile destroyer, which had just pulled into Aden, Yemen, for a refuelling stop.

Seventeen American sailors were killed as well as the two perpetrators of the attack claimed by Al-Qaeda, in an early success for the terror group and its founder Osama bin Laden.

A US court then ruled that Sudan, where the two bombers were trained, was responsible for the attack -- a claim Khartoum always denied.

In 1993, Washington listed Sudan in its terrorism blacklist for its alleged support of Islamist groups. Bin Laden used to reside in Sudan from 1992 to 1996.

Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's justice ministry said early Thursday it had signed a deal with the families of the American servicemen killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

The deal was signed on February 7 in Washington to fulfil a key condition for removing the northeast African country from the United States' state sponsor of terrorism list, the ministry said in a statement without specifying the amount of compensation agreed.

"As part of the transitional government's effort to remove Sudan from the terrorism list, a deal has been signed on February 7 with the families of the victims of the USS Cole incident," the ministry said.

"The deal clearly specifies that the government of Sudan was not responsible for the incident or any such terrorist incident and it is doing this deal only to... fulfil the condition put by the American administration to remove Sudan from its terrorism list."

On October 12, 2000, a rubber boat loaded with explosives blew up as it rounded the bow of the guided-missile destroyer, which had just pulled into Aden, Yemen, for a refuelling stop.

Seventeen American sailors were killed as well as the two perpetrators of the attack claimed by Al-Qaeda, in an early success for the terror group and its founder Osama bin Laden.

A US court then ruled that Sudan, where the two bombers were trained, was responsible for the attack -- a claim Khartoum always denied.

In 1993, Washington listed Sudan in its terrorism blacklist for its alleged support of Islamist groups. Bin Laden used to reside in Sudan from 1992 to 1996.

At last Bashir to appear Before Hague Court as Sudan hands Former Dictator to ICC for Darfur crimes - Top officer confirms

At last Bashir to appear Before Hague Court as Sudan hands Former Dictator to ICC for Darfur crimes - Top officer confirms

Bashir
Just like the Yoruba (People of South West Nigeria) saying that "Pounded yam of twenty years can still be hot to the extent that it can still sock hands", So Sudan has agreed to hand ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir and others to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, AFP reported, citing a member of Khartoum's ruling body.

They seems untouchable and unquestionable when commanded the absolute power and presided over the Sudanese affairs with highest level of impunity.

At last, al-Bashir and his compatriots in crime will appear before ICC in Hague to give stewardship of their cruel leadership.

The Hague-based ICC has charged Bashir and three of his former aides with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan's western region during a brutal conflict from 2003.

"Those who have been indicted by the ICC, they have to go there," Mohamed Hassan Al-Taishay, a member of the ruling sovereign council said, without mentioning their names.

His remarks, quoted in a statement issued by the sovereign council in Khartoum, came as a government delegation met rebel groups in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

Taishay said the talks focused on justice and reconciliation in Darfur, where the United Nations says about 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict erupted.

Taishay said they had agreed several mechanisms for achieving peace in the region.

"First, all those who have been indicted by the ICC should appear before the ICC," he said.

"Second, a special court be set up to investigate crimes committed in Darfur."

The conflict in Darfur, the size of France, erupted when ethnic minority African rebels took up arms against Bashir's then Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

The ICC has charged Bashir with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict.

It has also indicted three of his former aides, Ahmed Haroon, Abdulrahim Mohamed Hussain and Ali Kushied.

"We cannot achieve justice unless we treat the suffering of the victims because this is a truth that we can't escape from," Taishay said.

"In Darfur, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed."

Bashir has denied the charges.

Bashir was ousted by the army in a palace coup last April after months of protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades. Read More


(Yoruba are the People of South West Nigeria, they are also in Benin Republic, Togo and many other places)
Bashir
Just like the Yoruba (People of South West Nigeria) saying that "Pounded yam of twenty years can still be hot to the extent that it can still sock hands", So Sudan has agreed to hand ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir and others to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, AFP reported, citing a member of Khartoum's ruling body.

They seems untouchable and unquestionable when commanded the absolute power and presided over the Sudanese affairs with highest level of impunity.

At last, al-Bashir and his compatriots in crime will appear before ICC in Hague to give stewardship of their cruel leadership.

The Hague-based ICC has charged Bashir and three of his former aides with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan's western region during a brutal conflict from 2003.

"Those who have been indicted by the ICC, they have to go there," Mohamed Hassan Al-Taishay, a member of the ruling sovereign council said, without mentioning their names.

His remarks, quoted in a statement issued by the sovereign council in Khartoum, came as a government delegation met rebel groups in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

Taishay said the talks focused on justice and reconciliation in Darfur, where the United Nations says about 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict erupted.

Taishay said they had agreed several mechanisms for achieving peace in the region.

"First, all those who have been indicted by the ICC should appear before the ICC," he said.

"Second, a special court be set up to investigate crimes committed in Darfur."

The conflict in Darfur, the size of France, erupted when ethnic minority African rebels took up arms against Bashir's then Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

The ICC has charged Bashir with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict.

It has also indicted three of his former aides, Ahmed Haroon, Abdulrahim Mohamed Hussain and Ali Kushied.

"We cannot achieve justice unless we treat the suffering of the victims because this is a truth that we can't escape from," Taishay said.

"In Darfur, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed."

Bashir has denied the charges.

Bashir was ousted by the army in a palace coup last April after months of protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades. Read More


(Yoruba are the People of South West Nigeria, they are also in Benin Republic, Togo and many other places)

Sudan army backs Burhan-Netanyahu meeting will boost security

Sudan army backs Burhan-Netanyahu meeting will boost security

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's military said Wednesday it backed a surprise meeting between the country's leader and Israel's prime minister in Uganda this week, saying the opening would help boost national security.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan's ruling sovereign council, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Entebbe on Monday in a previously unannounced meeting.

Israel remains technically at war with Sudan, which supported hardline Islamists including Al-Qaeda during the three-decade rule of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, ousted amid mass protests last year.

On Tuesday, Burhan briefed the sovereign council and top ministers about his meeting, saying he took the step to meet Netanyahu "to protect the national security of Sudan".

The vote of support for Burhan from the military came after top officers met at army headquarters in Khartoum.

"There was a meeting at the army headquarters today, and those present in the meeting were briefed about the visit of the army's commander to Uganda and its impact on Sudan's national security," military spokesman Brigadier Amir Mohamed Al-Hassan told AFP.

"The army is in favour of this (Burhan-Netanyahu) meeting as it is in the interest of Sudan's national security."

Soon after the meeting Netanyahu's office put out a statement saying that said he believed that post-Bashir Sudan was headed "in a positive direction".

It said he and Burhan had "agreed to start cooperating leading to normalisation of the relationship between the two countries".

Sudan under Bashir was part of the decades-long Arab boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians and occupation of Arab lands.

In the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967 in which Israel occupied the Palestinian territories and seized the Golan Heights from Syria, Arab leaders held a historic meeting in Khartoum to announce what became known as the 'three nos' -- no peace, no recognition, no negotiations with Israel.

The Palestine Liberation Organization called Burhan and Netanyahu's meeting "a stab in the back of the Palestinian people".

In a statement carried on official news agency WAFA, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Netanyahu and his US allies of "trying to liquidate the Palestinian cause".

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's military said Wednesday it backed a surprise meeting between the country's leader and Israel's prime minister in Uganda this week, saying the opening would help boost national security.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan's ruling sovereign council, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Entebbe on Monday in a previously unannounced meeting.

Israel remains technically at war with Sudan, which supported hardline Islamists including Al-Qaeda during the three-decade rule of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, ousted amid mass protests last year.

On Tuesday, Burhan briefed the sovereign council and top ministers about his meeting, saying he took the step to meet Netanyahu "to protect the national security of Sudan".

The vote of support for Burhan from the military came after top officers met at army headquarters in Khartoum.

"There was a meeting at the army headquarters today, and those present in the meeting were briefed about the visit of the army's commander to Uganda and its impact on Sudan's national security," military spokesman Brigadier Amir Mohamed Al-Hassan told AFP.

"The army is in favour of this (Burhan-Netanyahu) meeting as it is in the interest of Sudan's national security."

Soon after the meeting Netanyahu's office put out a statement saying that said he believed that post-Bashir Sudan was headed "in a positive direction".

It said he and Burhan had "agreed to start cooperating leading to normalisation of the relationship between the two countries".

Sudan under Bashir was part of the decades-long Arab boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians and occupation of Arab lands.

In the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967 in which Israel occupied the Palestinian territories and seized the Golan Heights from Syria, Arab leaders held a historic meeting in Khartoum to announce what became known as the 'three nos' -- no peace, no recognition, no negotiations with Israel.

The Palestine Liberation Organization called Burhan and Netanyahu's meeting "a stab in the back of the Palestinian people".

In a statement carried on official news agency WAFA, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Netanyahu and his US allies of "trying to liquidate the Palestinian cause".

Three countries delay Ethiopia dam deadline but Trump sees deal

Three countries delay Ethiopia dam deadline but Trump sees deal

Washington (AFP) - Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Friday pushed back their deadline to resolve a bitter row on a dam on the Nile until the end of February, but President Donald Trump voiced confidence that a deal was near.

It was the latest delay in the US-brokered talks on the giant Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is slated to begin operations later this year and has sparked fears of conflict over scarce water resources.

But the talks have appeared to make progress. The latest session, held over four days in Washington among foreign and water resources ministers, focused on mitigation measures during droughts and other dry years.

"The ministers have instructed their technical and legal teams to prepare the final agreement," a joint statement said, "for a signing of the three countries by the end of February 2020."

The three countries "reaffirmed the importance of transboundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan."

Ethiopia says the dam -- which will be the largest in Africa -- is crucial for its growing economy, but Egypt fears the project will disrupt the river that provides 90 percent of its drinking water.

The US Treasury Department has been leading the talks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sought intervention from Trump, a close ally.

The White House said that Trump on Friday spoke by telephone about the negotiations with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Trump "expressed optimism that an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was near and would benefit all parties involved," the White House said in a statement.


- Progress but delays -

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have gone into overtime in often tense negotiations in Washington.

They had earlier set a deadline of January 15 before agreeing to seal the deal during a January 28-29 meeting, which wound up going two days longer than planned.

In the latest talks, the countries discussed setting up ways in which they can share information and resolve potential future disputes about the dam.

They also agreed to address dam safety standards and look further at the environmental and social impacts, according to the joint statement.

In earlier talks, the three countries said they had reached an understanding that Ethiopia would only fill the Grand Renaissance Dam during the rainy season and would base future water levels on conditions of the Nile.

The colossal 1.8-kilometer-long (1.1-mile-long) dam, under construction since 2011, is expected to begin generating power by the end of this year and eventually double Ethiopia's electricity.

The country expects the $4.2 billion hydroelectric barrage to be fully operational by 2022.

Abiy, whose democratic reforms won him the Nobel Peace Prize, has promised to cooperate with the other countries.

But Ethiopia has also made clear that it will insist on its rights to the water from the Nile.

The International Crisis Group, in a report last year, warned that the dam risked triggering violent conflict if it becomes operational without an agreement among the affected countries.


Washington (AFP) - Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Friday pushed back their deadline to resolve a bitter row on a dam on the Nile until the end of February, but President Donald Trump voiced confidence that a deal was near.

It was the latest delay in the US-brokered talks on the giant Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is slated to begin operations later this year and has sparked fears of conflict over scarce water resources.

But the talks have appeared to make progress. The latest session, held over four days in Washington among foreign and water resources ministers, focused on mitigation measures during droughts and other dry years.

"The ministers have instructed their technical and legal teams to prepare the final agreement," a joint statement said, "for a signing of the three countries by the end of February 2020."

The three countries "reaffirmed the importance of transboundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan."

Ethiopia says the dam -- which will be the largest in Africa -- is crucial for its growing economy, but Egypt fears the project will disrupt the river that provides 90 percent of its drinking water.

The US Treasury Department has been leading the talks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sought intervention from Trump, a close ally.

The White House said that Trump on Friday spoke by telephone about the negotiations with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Trump "expressed optimism that an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was near and would benefit all parties involved," the White House said in a statement.


- Progress but delays -

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have gone into overtime in often tense negotiations in Washington.

They had earlier set a deadline of January 15 before agreeing to seal the deal during a January 28-29 meeting, which wound up going two days longer than planned.

In the latest talks, the countries discussed setting up ways in which they can share information and resolve potential future disputes about the dam.

They also agreed to address dam safety standards and look further at the environmental and social impacts, according to the joint statement.

In earlier talks, the three countries said they had reached an understanding that Ethiopia would only fill the Grand Renaissance Dam during the rainy season and would base future water levels on conditions of the Nile.

The colossal 1.8-kilometer-long (1.1-mile-long) dam, under construction since 2011, is expected to begin generating power by the end of this year and eventually double Ethiopia's electricity.

The country expects the $4.2 billion hydroelectric barrage to be fully operational by 2022.

Abiy, whose democratic reforms won him the Nobel Peace Prize, has promised to cooperate with the other countries.

But Ethiopia has also made clear that it will insist on its rights to the water from the Nile.

The International Crisis Group, in a report last year, warned that the dam risked triggering violent conflict if it becomes operational without an agreement among the affected countries.


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