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DATE=12/1/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-S / SUDAN (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-256724 BYLINE=KYLE KING DATELINE=STATE DEPARTMENT CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A war of words is heating up between Sudan and the United States following passage of a U-S law that would allow direct shipments of food aid to Sudanese rebels. From the State Department, VOA's Kyle King reports. TEXT: The first rhetorical blast came from the Islamic government in Khartoum. Officials there accuse the United States of trying to prolong Sudan's 16-year old civil war. The criticism follows (Monday's) passage of a U-S law that gives the President authority to send food aid directly to Southern Sudanese rebels. White House officials say the President did not ask for the authority and no decision has been made to begin such aid deliveries. State Department spokesman James Rubin rejected Sudan's criticism, and blamed the government in Khartoum for prolonging the war. /// RUBIN ACT /// Let me say the Sudanese government has been engaged in a war against its own people. And the idea that they would criticize anyone else for trying to help deal with the mass starvation and deprived conditions of the people of Sudan is ridiculous in the extreme. /// END ACT /// The Clinton administration has repeatedly blamed the suffering in Sudan on the government's attempt to impose Islamic law in the mostly Christian and animist South of the country. Supporters of direct U-S food aid to the rebels say it would help them maintain their positions in the oil rich South of the country. Some Sudanese officials say the aid shipments could be used to bring weapons to the rebels. International aid organizations say they fear direct U-S food deliveries to the rebels would endanger humanitarian aid shipments. Fighting and starvation blamed on the war in Sudan have killed nearly two million people over the past 16 years. The United States and international aid agencies have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian assistance. (Signed) NEB/KBK/TVM/PT 01-Dec-1999 16:03 PM EDT (01-Dec-1999 2103 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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