TITLE=W-F-P / U-S / SUDAN (L ONLY)
INTRO: The U-N World Food Program, W-F-P, says a U-S
measure that would allow direct food aid to rebel
soldiers in Southern Sudan could put U-N aid workers
and their humanitarian operation at risk. Lisa
Schlein reports from Geneva.
TEXT: The World Food Program says it is concerned
that the U-N "Operation Lifeline" in southern Sudan
could be jeopardized by the U-S decision to support
the rebel movement.
The food aid agency says its humanitarian program has
functioned well because it operates in an impartial
manner. It says food is distributed to all victims on
both the government and rebel sides of the conflict.
W-F-P spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume says she does
not know how the United States intends to deliver aid
to the southern Sudanese rebels.
/// BERTHIAUME ACT ONE ///
If, let us say they use aircraft, that could be
dangerous for us because we could become also
kind of military targets. The same thing for
distribution on the ground. If the Americans
distribute the food in areas near our centers,
that could be dangerous also.
/// END ACT ///
The World Food Program distributes eight-thousand-tons
of food every month to more than one-point-two-million
people in Sudan. About 70-percent of this food aid is
brought in by air.
/// OPT /// The United States is the biggest
contributor to this humanitarian program. This year,
the United States donated 98-million dollars, which
was 70-percent of W-F-P's financial needs. /// END
Ms Berthiaume says civilians caught up in Sudan's long
civil war are vulnerable and continue to need support.
/// BERTHIAUME ACT TWO ///
In 1998, we had a huge and dramatic famine in
Bahr-El-Gazal. Many thousands of people died
because of lack of food and because we did not
have access to this area for weeks. The
situation has improved. But, these people
really live on the edge of a knife. The
situation is very very precarious.
/// END ACT ///
Ms. Berthiaume says a situation of famine could recur
in southern Sudan if the W-F-P is forced to stop its
food distribution to the many thousands in need.
/// UNVOICED OPT /// The Clinton administration had
not sought the provision to send food to the Sudan
rebels, it was contained in a budget bill passed by
congress. A Clinton spokesman said Monday that while
the President now has the ability to assist the
rebels, there little reason to believe he will
exercise the authority. /// END OPT ///
30-Nov-1999 11:16 AM EDT (30-Nov-1999 1616 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list