Darfur funding in jeopardy - US envoy

2012-12-12 18:53
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Khartoum - Funding for the recovery of Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region is in jeopardy unless the government eases restrictions on international aid personnel, a senior US envoy said on Wednesday.

Dane Smith, the American administration's senior adviser for Darfur, also said militias are "seemingly out of control" and have been implicated in attacks on peacekeepers, yet the government shows little interest in prosecuting the culprits.

Darfur, in Sudan's far west, has endured nine years of conflict since ethnic African rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003.

Although violence is largely down from its peak, more than one million people remain displaced in camps, villages have been razed, and overlapping conflicts continue including rebel-government fighting, banditry, inter-Arab and tribal disputes.

An international conference to raise funds for Darfur's recovery is planned for early next year in Doha.

But it comes as donors including the United States face an "increasingly difficult" time getting staff into Darfur to assess and supervise their aid projects, Smith said.

"This issue of access to Darfur must be resolved. It jeopardises the Doha donor conference that is planned now for next year," he said, speaking during his final visit to Sudan, at the end of a two-year appointment.

"The issue must be resolved favourably. You can't have it both ways."

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