Conference Raises $850 Million for Darfur

CAIRO, March 22 (UPI) — The Organization of the Islamic Conference says it has raised $850 million to help resettle 2.7 million people displaced by war in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The group, which has 57 member nations, raised the money Sunday at a conference in Cairo headed by Egypt and Turkey. The group ultimately aims to raise $2 billion overall to help the war-ravaged region, The Voice of America reported Monday.

“Stability and development in Darfur is the only guarantee that will lead to the voluntary return of refugees and displaced Sudanese back to their homes,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said.

Two dominant rebel groups recently signed cease-fire agreements with the Sudanese government. The agreements should allow the building of roads, schools and homes that would make Darfur self-sustaining, said United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

The building needs to be done quickly to avoid “the breeding of social vices” that occur when displaced people are forced to live for too long in refuge camps, Gambari said.

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