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DATE=11/30/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=W-F-P / U-S / SUDAN (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256667 BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 OPT /// 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 /// (SIGNED) NEB/LS/JWH/RAE 30-Nov-1999 11:16 AM EDT (30-Nov-1999 1616 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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