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Islamic world meets for Darfur in Egypt, Turkey pledges aid

22 March 2010 [10:26] - TODAY.AZ
International donors were urged Sunday to dig deep into their pockets at a conference in Cairo which aims to raise two billion dollars for the reconstruction of war-ravaged Darfur.
The one-day conference, which was organised by the 57-strong Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and co-chaired by Egypt and Turkey, was also attended by representatives from the Britain, China, France and the United States among others.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that Turkey supported the efforts of all international organizations to solve Darfur problem.

Investment in infrastructure, health, education and agriculture is vital to ending conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and nurturing the relative peace from recent ceasefire deals, Egypt also said.

Representatives and various non-governmental organizations from over 80 countries as well as officials from Turkish Red Crescent and Red Cross are participating in the conference in Cairo.

The one-day development and reconstruction conference aims to raise $2 billion for projects such as cement plants, roads and villages for displaced people.

Sudan is represented by former Darfur rebel and now presidential adviser Minni Minawi, as well as ministers and senior officials.

Qatar, which in recent weeks oversaw the signing of two ceasefire deals between rebel groups and Khartoum, pledged $200 million.

The Gulf Arab state had already pledged $1 billion to a separate fund for Darfur and suggested donations from the conference be directed through that fund.

Egypt said it would consider the proposal and recommended forming a committee that included major donors to look into where the bank would be based and other details.

OIC said it would give $355 million.

Turkey said it would give $60-75 million from now until 2015 for water, education and agricultural projects, and the European Union pledged $95 million collectively.

However, Countries including the United States, Canada, Norway and Britain did not pledge at the meeting.

Davutoglu, speaking in the opening of the conference, said that the situation in Darfur affected the whole region negatively. He added that the problems in Sudan could not be solved only by one country.

Davutoglu wanted international community to cooperate and exert efforts to solve the issue.

He noted that Sudan was an important country which was a bridge between races, cultures and religions in Africa. He added that instability in this country would affect the whole continent.

Davutoglu said that the stability of Sudan would contribute to development of peace, harmony and prosperity in the region.

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Darfur, the basic issue has been one of development, which has taken on political, tribal and social dimensions," Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in an opening statement.

"This is what makes us certain the core solution to the Darfur crisis must focus on increasing rates of development and improving the standard of living for each citizen in Darfur," he added.

The Sudanese government recently signed two agreements with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), hailed by the international community as a key step toward bringing peace to Darfur.

Sudan has been pushing to resolve the conflict in its western Darfur region before elections next month, and has signed ceasefire deals with two rebel groups since February.


/World Bulletin/
URL: http://www.today.az/news/regions/64574.html

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