Cairo: An international donors’ conference on Sunday raised USD 850 million for projects intended to ensure the safe return of nearly three million people displaced during the war in Darfur.
The one-day conference in Cairo was organised by the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference and included representatives from the US, European nations, UN agencies and aid groups.
Host Egypt said the conference highlighted the importance of development in achieving peace and stability in Darfur. It said many participants made unspecified aid pledges on top of the USD 850 million raised.
"The large participation and the pledges made reflect the wide extent of the international commitment and wish in supporting peace and stability in Darfur," Egyptian Foreign
Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, reading from the meeting`s final communiqué.
"Development in Darfur is the real guarantee to help refugees back to their homes," Aboul Gheit said.
The biggest donors on Sunday were Brazil, The Islamic Bank for Development, Qatar and Turkey. Others pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to finance development projects.
The fighting in Darfur, which began with a 2003 rebellion by groups accusing the government of neglecting the western province, has died down over the past year and peace talks are under way in the Gulf state of Qatar. Many of those displaced, however, are still living in camps and their future is one of the central unresolved issues. An estimated 300,000 people lost their lives to violence, disease and displacement.