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France lends aircraft to UN for humanitarian aid transportation to darfur


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Jacques Chirac

PARIS, July 15, 2004 (Xinhua) — French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that France will put an aircraft Transall at the United Nations’ disposal for three months for humanitarian aid transportation to Darfur in western Sudan.

Annan had informed Chirac in a phone call of his visit in early July to the Sudanese province ravaged by, according to the United Nations, the most serious humanitarian crisis.

"At the same time of the international community’s efforts to encourage a political solution and the respect for commitments made by the Sudanese government, an enlarged mobilization is necessary to bring humane aid to refugees and displaced persons of Darfur," said Catherine Colonna, the spokeswoman of the French presidential palace of Elysee.

The conflict between a local rebellion and pro-government militias backed by the army has left about 10,000 dead, one million homeless people and more than 100,000 refugees fleeing to the neighboring country Chad.

The spokeswoman also noted that France had agreed to donate 3.6 million euros (about 4.43 million dollars) to Sudan’s humanitarian organizations in the framework of bilateral ties and the European Union had released 40 million euros (about 49.2 million dollars) for urgent aid.

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