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Sudan Development Subject of World Bank Meeting

High-level Sudanese officials and international donors are meeting in Paris Thursday and Friday to discuss Sudan's development needs, following years of conflict.

The two-day meeting in Paris follows a push by Western countries for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan's western Darfur region. The officials at these World Bank meetings are addressing Sudan's longer-term development needs, after the end of a separate, years-long civil war dividing the country's north and south.

"The focus is on development, on poverty reduction. The needs are immense in Sudan, and, at the same time, the country has a lot of resources. So, we are focusing on how both domestic resources and international resources are supporting poverty reduction," said Ishak Diwan, World Bank country director for Sudan.

Last year, the Sudanese government and southern rebels signed a peace treaty ending 21 years of conflict. The civil war left many parts of the country in shambles. Diwan says thousands of schools, roads and potable water stations are needed in southern Sudan. Parts of northern Sudan also require basic development assistance.

Last year, donors pledged more than $500 million, to be disbursed in two trust funds, earmarked for the country's south and north. Diwan hopes donors, now gathered in Paris, will pledge more aid.

But he says Sudan's leaders must also make good on promises to help their country.

Diwan says the Darfur conflict in western Sudan and overall security concerns will likely be discussed at the Paris meeting, as well.