Sudan says donor conference successful - Nations pledge $200 million more for Darfur - peace talks start 10 June
Haroun, who accompanied First Vice President Ali Othman Mohammed Taha to the conference, told reporters that the conference succeeded in offering financial and logistical support required to strengthen the African Union's Mission (AMIS) in Darfur.
Earlier in the day, the 53-member pan-African body appealed for 460 million dollars in cash, military equipment and logistical support to reinforce its current troops to more than 7,700 by September.
In his address to the conference, Taha voiced the government's willingness to cooperate with and support the AU's mission in Darfur.
He reaffirmed that the Darfur issue is an African conflict and should be resolved within the AU framework.
[Sounds good but bear in mind, things are not always what they seem. Khartoum have proven themselves to have two faces and speak with forked tongues. They recently agreed to Ugandan forces hunting down LRA rebels in southern Sudan. Some news sources - including Khartoum's Monitor which was closed down for one day this week by Sudanese police - say Khartoum supports and arms the Ugandan rebel group LRA]
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Darfur peace talks to resume June 10
The AU has announced that a new round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels will be held on June 10 in the Nigerian capital Abuja. Darfur rebel group JEM confirms it will participate.
[At least we will find out soon enough just how genuine both sides are. But anything could happen between now and then. Eastern Front and others in Eastern Sudan are making themselves heard again. Eritrea and Ethiopia will start beating their war drums ... LRA attacks will happen in southern Sudan ... all the usual trouble that flares whenever Darfur peace talks loom. The rebels are just as bad as Khartoum. I have no sympathy for either side. Both are to blame for displacing 4 million people, causing millions of deaths and inflicting horrendous misery and suffering upon defenceless women and children]
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Nations pledge $200M more for Darfur
Associated Press confirms May 27 that international donors pledged an additional $200 million Thursday to fund the African Union peacekeeping operation in Darfur during the above mentioned conference.
AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare said officials were still analysing the pledges but that it appeared enough money was raised to bolster the force currently in Darfur. "There is a clear will. Many states and countries are willing to bridge the gap," Konare told reporters.
Canada made the largest new pledge, promising $134 million. The State Department's senior representative on Sudan, Charles Snyder, said Washington was adding an additional $50 million to the $95 million already pledged to end what he called "acts of genocide" in the ongoing conflict.
Photo: A young Sudanese child is helped with a drink of clean water at the Abu Shouk refugee camp near El Fasher, in Darfur, Sudan, in August 2004.(AFP/File/Jim Watson)
Peace will only be made, and kept, by the Sudanese people themselves
May 26 UN news centre -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the AU Commission, writes in an opinion piece published in the Washington Times May 26, 2005. Excerpt explains what should happen in principle, but things don't always work out that way in practice:
"The international response is thus falling short in two lethal ways: another $350 million in aid is needed to help more than three million people survive the rest of this year, and more troops, police, aircraft and other transport, training and logistical support are needed to enable the AU to protect the population in much of Darfur.
As part of our efforts to address the crisis in Darfur, we jointly convened yesterday a donor conference in Addis Ababa, to give the rest of the world (especially the wealthy countries that have the means to contribute, and whose media and public opinion have been most vocal about the need to halt atrocities in Darfur) an opportunity to rally round and give practical support to the Africans, who are actually doing something on the ground. This conference complements the one held in Oslo last month, at which $4.5 billion in aid was pledged to Sudan, mainly to support the fragile peace that has at last been achieved between North and South after a 21-year civil war.
Indeed, Darfur can only benefit if the rest of the Sudan is at peace, and if the new government of national unity (due to take office in July) leads the whole country in a new, more inclusive direction. Thus the 10,000-strong peacekeeping force that the United Nations is now deploying in the South will help make peace viable throughout the country, including Darfur.
But action is urgently needed in Darfur itself, on three fronts: the humanitarian effort must be fully funded, and safe access for relief workers - both inter- and non-governmental - must be fully guaranteed by all parties.
The AU force must be expanded without delay, and bolstered by logistical and financial support, so that it can provide real security throughout Darfur, allowing the people to return to their homes and resume cultivating their crops. African states that have promised troops must provide them promptly, and donors must provide the means needed for those troops to deploy. Both the government and the rebels must bring their forces and allied militias under full control, and ensure that they fully respect the cease-fire and humanitarian law.
And the parties to the conflict must negotiate a political agreement offering solid guarantees for lasting peace. The AU and the wider international community can and must help. But in the end peace will only be made, and kept, by the Sudanese people themselves."
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Southern Sudan cries out for humanitarian aid
Recently, at the last donors' conference in Oslo, the international community pledged 4.5 billion dollars in development funding for southern Sudan following the Jan 9 signing of a peace deal. Although most of it is conditional upon peace in Darfur, it is difficult to believe that none of it has been forthcoming for humanitarian aid. If the below report is true, then you have to wonder why has South Sudan's new leader John Garang has not screamed to the press on behalf of his people. News out of Sudan is as dubious as its politics.
Photo: A four-year-old Sudanese boy collapses from hunger at a feeding centre run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the village of Paliang, about 160 km northwest of the southern town of Rumbek, May 25, 2005. (Reuters).
See May 26, 2005 report by Anaclet Rwegayura via SudanTribune - Southern Sudan cries out for humanitarian aid.