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Donors pledge ${esc.dollar}3.6 billion for Sudan's Darfur

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 8 Apr 2013 17:19 GMT
Author: Reuters
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DOHA, April 8 (Reuters) - Donor countries committed ${esc.dollar}3.6 billion to Sudan's Darfur region to be paid over six years during a donor conference on Monday hosted in Qatar aimed at helping it cope with an armed conflict that has killed thousands.

Despite ${esc.dollar}2.6 billion already committed by the Sudanese government, the pledges still fell short of the ${esc.dollar}7.2 billion the United Nations had hoped to raise, Ali al-Zatari, representative of the U.N. secretary-general said.

No breakdown by country was provided, however the biggest pledge was provided by Arab countries, Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud said.

"Qatar has pledged ${esc.dollar}500 million .... some countries might increase their pledges when they look at the projects in detail," he said at a news conference. Doha had previously committed ${esc.dollar}200 million for a development bank to be based in Khartoum and with branches throughout the country.

Darfur descended into war in 2003 when rebels took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region. The government responded with a brutal counter-insurgency campaign. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people may have died. Khartoum puts the figure at 10,000.

Qatar has played a role as a regional mediator in recent years, in conflicts ranging from Yemen, Libya and Darfur as it attempts to gain a larger role as a regional power broker. (Reporting by Amena Bakr and Regan Doherty; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Alison Williams)

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