An affront to humanity -Andrews
Speaking at the conclusion of his fact finding visit to Sudan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Andrews, T.D., said "the famine in Sudan is an affront to humanity. No one can remain unmoved by the tragic plight of the Sudanese people."
Minister Andrews ended his visit to Sudan today after an intensive round of discussions with Government Ministers, including the Foreign Minister, and representatives of the humanitarian agencies in Khartoum. Following his meetings the Minister said "Humanitarian assistance cannot be a substitute for political action. At the same time I would emphasise the importance of sustained and safe access for humanitarian reasons and I urge all parties to respect and implement fully the ceasefire. The situation will remain precarious for some time to come and it is vital that the international community continue the very important relief work in the famine area."
The Minister had previously visited the areas of Sudan worst affected by the famine and saw for himself the human devastation that it has wrought. "The courage, dedication and effectiveness of those engaged in humanitarian relief effort are to be commended," the Minister said. Mr Andrews was accompanied during his visit to Ajiep by representatives of the United Nations and the Irish aid agencies with major relief programmes operating in Sudan -Concern, Goal and Trocaire. While en route from southern Sudan to Khartoum, Minister Andrews met with Salva Kiir, deputy leader of the SPLA, and with the Foreign Minister of Kenya, Dr Godana, who chaired the recent round of peace talks in Addis Ababa.
At his press conference in Sudan Minister Andrews also said that he was"both saddened and appalled by the outrageous attack in Omagh." The Minister noted that since learning of the bombing late on Saturday night he had had extensive discussions with both the Taoiseach and senior officials on its implications. "I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to the relatives and friends of those who have died," the Minister said.