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[Published: Friday March 06 2009]


UN pleads with Sudan over aid ban

New York, 06 March-(ANA)-UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged Sudan to rethink its decision to expel aid groups from its Darfur region.

Ban Ki-moon said the decision could cause "irrevocable damage" to the humanitarian operations in Sudan.

The order came after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes.

Aid agencies have expressed concern over the potential impact of the move on thousands of displaced people.

The African Union and Arab League have said they will ask the UN to defer the warrant for a year, saying that arresting Mr Bashir could derail attempts to bring stability to Sudan.

A statement from Mr Ban's office said the decision to expel 13 non-governmental organisations "will, if implemented, cause irrevocable damage to humanitarian operations there".

"The operations of these agencies are key to maintaining a lifeline to 4.7m Sudanese people who receive aid in Darfur," it said.

Among the international aid groups ordered out of Darfur are Oxfam, Care, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Save the Children UK.

Sarah Jacobs of Save the Children Africa said that children in Sudan would suffer if the charity was prevented from operating in the country. (ANA)

FA/ANA/06 March 2009---


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