UN: Sudan delaying food shipments to peacekeepers

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Sudan is holding up food rations bound for UN peacekeepers in Darfur, a UN spokesman said Wednesday, calling on the government to immediately allow the containers to reach the troops.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Sudan was keeping 190 containers holding largely food and operational supplies from reaching the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

“The current food-ration level in the mission area is of great concern to us,” Dujarric said. “We urge the government of Sudan to release the containers immediately.”

Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador to the UN, said he would bring up the issue at the UN Security Council, noting that the delays were preventing the mission from doing its job. He said the Sudanese government had denied knowledge of the issue.

Rycroft said that putting contingency plans in place to provide food for the troops would increase the monthly cost from 3 million dollars to 13 million dollars, which would be a strain on the international community’s already-stretched budget.

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