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UPDATED: 08:15, March 27, 2007
UN humanitarian head says humanitarian efforts in Sudan's Darfur to continue despite difficulties
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UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes stressed here Monday that humanitarian efforts in western Sudanese region of Darfur would continue despite difficulties.

During a press conference following his conclusion of one-week visit to Sudan, he told the reporters that "humanitarian efforts undertaken over the past three years are to be considered an extraordinary success giving the scale of the Darfur problem."

Holmes warned, however, that the humanitarian efforts could unravel if the problems that continue to prevail in Darfur could not be addressed.

Impressing by the commitment of all concerned, in particular aid workers, the UN official noted that the safety and security of humanitarian personnel remained a concern, referring to this regard to repeated assaults on aid workers in the past three years.

"These conditions have resulted in some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) withdrawing from Darfur," Holmes said, adding that it was the responsibility of the Sudanese government and those who control any given area to ensure the safety and security of the humanitarian personnel.

Holmes, the first visit to Sudan since he took office earlier this year, added that humanitarian workers are facing practical difficulties relating to travel permits, visas, labor law and so on.

During the visit, the UN official held talks with high-ranking Sudanese officials in Khartoum and visited some areas in Darfur and southern Sudan.

In addition, the official had some talks in Khartoum with a number of ministers and government officials, in which he shared impressions on the humanitarian situation and raised some issues.

He is scheduled to visit Chad and the Central African Republic for talks with officials of the two neighboring countries of Sudan and he plans visit some refugee camps around the border areas.

According to Holmes, the objective of his visit was to get first-hand information on what was going on the ground and to assess how the humanitarian effort was proceeding as well as the difficulties encountered.

Source: Xinhua

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