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Arab League builds 15 villages in Darfur: envoy

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February 28, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Arab League representative in Khartoum, Salah Halima, stated that the regional organisation built 15 villages in Darfur as part of efforts to bring peace in the region.

Halima made his remarks in a meeting with Darfur Voluntary Organisations Network (DVON) to discuss humanitarian, rehabilitation and recovery projects in the western Sudan region.

In a statement released after the meeting the Arab League and the pro-government network agreed to revitalize humanitarian activities and implement development projects to encourage voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

The meeting also agreed to hold donors conference to support humanitarian aspect.

Sudanese government since March 2009 expelled 10 major aid groups working in Darfur and tasked local groups with the distribution of humanitarian assistance.

Halima stressed that Arab League would continue its efforts to achieve peace and security in Darfur. He added that the regional body built 15 model villages besides establishing 6 agricultural projects and several development and services projects in the war-ravaged region.

He added that foreign donors paid only $250 million for reconstruction of Darfur in the form of pledges to implement development projects under local and foreign technical monitoring.

The Arab rehabilitation projects were established in implementation of a decision adopted in a summit held in Doha in March 2009. At that meeting the league decided to allocate eight million dollars monthly for Darfur.

The Egyptian diplomat disclosed the Arab League secretary general’s special envoy for humanitarian affairs, Hissa Khalifa bin Ahmed al Thani, would visit Sudan in early April to assess the situation in Darfur on the ground.

The head of DVON, Hassan Bargo, who is also a leading member of the ruling party, underscored preparations to receive the upcoming comprehensive peace, pointing the next period shall witness intensive work to resolve humanitarian issues.

Arab countries are often criticised for not contributing enough in the ongoing efforts to rebuild Darfur, a region where the 10-year conflict forced over four million to flee their villages and areas. UN agencies say there are still one and half million in the IDPs camps and some 200,000 refugees in neighbouring countries particularly Chad.

In April 2013, an international donor conference for reconstruction in Darfur was held in the Qatari capital of Doha where participants made financial pledges of $3.6 billion.

The figure included $2.65 billion from Sudan’s government. Qatar, the host of the peace process and donor conference, declared that it is making a $500 million contribution.

(ST)

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