Qatar to give $500 million in aid to rebuild Darfur: minister

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Qatar pledged $500 million in aid to rebuild Sudan’s war-ravaged western region of Darfur, the official QNA news agency on Monday quoted a minister as saying.

“Qatar has pledged an amount of $500 million 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 Feb. 2010, Qatar had promised to establish a bank with a capital of $1 billion to develop Darfur.

Britain on Sunday pledged at least £11 million ($16.5 million, 13 million euros) for Darfur annually over the next three years to help communities to grow food and to boost skills for employment.

The latest announcement came as delegates met in Doha for a second day for a conference aimed at endorsing a strategy to rebuild Darfur, where a decade-long conflict shocked the world with atrocities against civilians.

The conference, 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, $7.2 billion (5.5 billion euro) 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 genocide.

While the worst of the violence has long passed, clashes between rebels and the government continue, along with inter-Arab battles, kidnappings, carjacking and other crimes.

Some 1.4 million people have been displaced by the Darfur conflict.