- Title: [SW News](AP) USAID Using Somalia, Sudan Ports
- Date :[Mon Mar 13 2000 - 22:40:50 EST ]
USAID Using Somalia, Sudan Ports
Story Filed: Monday, March 13, 2000 5:06 PM EST
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- The U.S. aid agency may use ports in Sudan and Somalia,
two countries with which the United States has strained or no diplomatic relations, to
deliver emergency aid to Ethiopian drought victims, a senior official said Monday.
Aid to the 8 million victims in land-locked Ethiopia is currently brought through the
port of Djibouti, said Hugh Parmer, assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for
International Development. But Djibouti cannot handle the amount of food relief due this
year in the agency's expanded humanitarian mission.
As alternatives, Parmer said the agency is looking at Berbera in northern Somalia, and
Port Sudan in Sudan.
Somalia has not had a central government since 1991, and Berbera is located in a
separatist region that calls itself the Republic of Somaliland, but is not recognized by
any country. In 1993, 18 U.S. Army Rangers were killed in the capital, Mogadishu, by
Somalis during an abortive attempt to seize a leading warlord.
Relations with Sudan, meanwhile, are tense. The United States withdrew its embassy
staff in 1996, claiming Khartoum sponsored international terrorism, and relations worsened
further after U.S. airstrikes against the country in 1996.
Because of Ethiopia's 22-month border conflict with its neighbor, Eritrea, USAID is
unable to make use of the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa, which could cope with the
120,000 tons per month of food aid the agency intends to ship in, Parmer said.
``The war makes the logistical situation much more difficult,'' he told The Associated
Port Sudan, which would be considered only if Berbera's freight-handling capacity is
insufficient, presents political problems and has poor infrastructure. But ``the U.S.
government would probably allow it if were really crucial for humanitarian aid,'' Parmer
Parmer is on a tour of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Djibouti, where some 15
million people are threatened by crop failures resulting from prolonged drought. On
Saturday he visits Somalia, becoming the first senior U.S. official to visit Somalia since
Parmer will fly over Berbera on Saturday to assess road conditions from the Somali port
The number of Ethiopians affected by a two-year drought has risen from 2.2 million to
7.7 million over the last 12 months, according to USAID. The agency is also providing
emergency relief to 350,000 displaced people.
Copyright © 2000 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.
[Back to the top] [