Qatar pledges $500m in aid to Darfur
08 April 2013, 17:01
Doha - Qatar pledged $500m in aid to Sudan's Darfur on Monday
at a donors' meeting in Doha, even as rebels launched new attacks in the
troubled region scarred by a decade of conflict.
"Qatar has pledged an amount of $500m as grants and
contributions for rebuilding Darfur," said the gas-rich emirate's minister
of state for cabinet affairs, Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmud.
In February 2010, Qatar had promised to establish a bank
with a capital of one billion dollars to develop Darfur.
Germany also pledged €60m in aid at the conference as other
delegates expressed their support for development in Darfur without announcing
Britain had on Sunday offered at least £11m
for Darfur annually over the next three years to help communities to grow food
and to boost skills for employment.
The latest pledges came on the second day of a meeting of
representatives of donor countries and aid groups in Doha. The conference aims
to endorse a strategy to rebuild Darfur, where the conflict has shocked the
world with atrocities against civilians.
The meeting, which drew condemnation from rebel groups still
fighting the regime, was agreed under a July 2011 peace deal which Khartoum
signed in the Qatari capital with an alliance of rebel splinter groups.
It seeks support for the six-year, $7.2bn strategy to move
Darfur away from food handouts and other emergency aid, and lay the foundation
for lasting development through improved infrastructure.
The meeting comes 10 years after rebels rose up in the
western Sudanese region to seek an end to what they said was the domination of
power and wealth among the country's Arab elites.
In response, government-backed Arab Janjaweed militia
committed atrocities against civilians, prompting an arrest warrant for
President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and
While the worst of the violence has long passed,
rebel-government clashes continue along with inter-Arab battles, kidnappings,
carjackings and other crimes.
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) on
Sunday reported a fresh spate of violence.
It said rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army's Minni Minnawi
faction "attacked and seized" the towns of Muhagiriya and Labado,
while "several possible air strikes" were also reported in the area.
The violence prompted thousands of civilians to seek
protection around peacekeeping bases.
Rebels had on Saturday said they killed government troops
and occupied the areas, about 100km east of the South Darfur state capital
Some 1.4 million people have been displaced by Darfur's
Coinciding with the donors' meeting, displaced people have
staged demonstrations in several camps in Darfur, demanding that security take
priority, with some saying they would not return to their villages until peace
Major insurgent groups have rejected the Doha pact, which UN
chief Ban Ki-moon said in January had seen only limited progress in its
A breakaway faction of the JEM on Saturday became the second
group to join the peace deal. It signed a "final agreement" with the
Sudanese government in Doha, Sudan's official media reported.
Sudan is perceived as one of the world's most corrupt
countries. The development plan proposes an independent monitoring mechanism
and says other safeguards will be built in, including from the UN and World