Turkey pledges $75 mln at Darfour meeting
A one-day development and reconstruction conference for Sudan's Darfour region in Cairo on Sunday, co-chaired by Egypt and Turkey, raised $2 billion for projects including cement plants, roads and villages for displaced people. Turkey pledged $60-75 million through 2015 for water, education and agricultural projects, while Algeria pledged $10 million with a focus on health and job training. Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey supports the efforts of all international organizations to solve the Darfour problem. He said that the situation in Darfour has hurt the whole region and that its problems can't be solved by one country alone. Davutoglu urged the international community to cooperate to solve the issue. He said Sudan is an important country which bridges races, cultures and religions. Davutoglu said stability in Sudan would help promote peace, harmony and prosperity in the region. Turkey extended $150 million in aid to Darfour over the last four years, and will continue these efforts, Davutoglu said. Investments in infrastructure, health, education and agriculture are vital to ending the conflict in Darfour and nurturing the relative peace from recent cease-fire deals, Egypt said. "Since the beginning of the crisis in Darfour, the basic issue has been one of development, which has taken on political, tribal and social dimensions," Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said. "This is what makes us certain the core solution to the Darfour crisis must focus on increasing rates of development and improving the standard of living for each citizen in Darfour." The donor conference was backed by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) but also included representatives from China, the US, Russia, Britain, France and others. Donors have convened several conferences for Sudan over the years, but complex aid structures have held up some spending and not all pledges have fully materialized. Representatives and various non-governmental organizations from over 80 countries as well as officials from the Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and Red Cross were present at the meeting.