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Macron says donors pledge $2.1 billion in aid for Sudan


European leaders attend a meeting as part of an International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and Neighbouring Countries at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, April 15, 2024.
European leaders attend a meeting as part of an International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and Neighbouring Countries at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, April 15, 2024.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that world donors have pledged $2.1 billion to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Sudan.

Macron spoke in Paris at the end of an international conference designed to drum up financial support for a severely underfunded aid effort.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the world not to forget about the people of Sudan, as he called for an end to the fighting on the one-year anniversary of the African nation’s civil war.

“It is a war on the many thousands of civilians who have been killed, and tens of thousands maimed for life,” he told reporters at the U.N. in New York. “It is a war on the 18 million people facing acute hunger, and the communities now staring down the terrifying threat of famine in the months ahead.”

“This is a man-made disaster,” said Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister. “This is the world's worst child displacement crisis, unfolding before our eyes. Yet, in many of our countries, as the war enters its second year, it is practically absent from our daily news.”

Fighting erupted in the capital, Khartoum, a year ago between rival generals who lead the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the RSF. Hostilities quickly spread across the country. The United Nations says more than 8 million people have fled their homes in search of safety – 1.8 million of them to neighboring countries.

The U.N. says the conflict has killed more than 14,000 people, injured 33,000 others and left half the population – around 25 million people – in need of humanitarian assistance.

Guterres raised the alarm on escalating hostilities in North Darfur on the outskirts of its capital, El Fasher. He said RSF-affiliated militias attacked and burned villages in the past few days west of the city, causing further displacement and endangering the city’s only water source.

“Let me be clear: Any attack on El Fasher would be devastating for civilians and could lead to full-blown intercommunal conflict across Darfur,” the U.N. chief warned.

He said it would also disrupt aid operations, as El Fasher is a humanitarian hub.

The U.N. chief put little hope in mediation to bring a swift conclusion to the war.

“The two parties have made a bet and the bet is to win militarily,” he said. “And for that, mediation is irrelevant.”

Donors gather in Paris

Guterres spoke as top diplomats and international aid groups met in Paris seeking to raise money for the humanitarian effort. Both the $2.7 billion U.N. humanitarian response plan for Sudan and the $1.4 billion regional refugee response plan are underfunded at 6% and 7% respectively.

France, Germany and the European Commission hosted the conference.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said the organizers want to move the conflict to the top of the international agenda and mobilize humanitarian funding.

Initial pledges at the conference Monday include $244 million from Germany and more than $377 million from the European Union.

In a statement issued ahead of the conference, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said the U.S. will pledge “$100 million in emergency food assistance, nutrition support, and other life-saving aid.” This brings

total U.S. humanitarian aid to more than $1 billion since the conflict began.
In addition to the humanitarian pledging conference, there were discussions planned on how to move toward a political resolution of the conflict.

In a communique from the conference, ministers and representatives of international and regional organizations reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to supporting a peaceful resolution to the conflict and urged the warring parties to “immediately cease hostilities.” They also called on them to allow unrestricted humanitarian access to people in need.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. VOA’s U.N. correspondent, Margaret Besheer, contributed to this report.

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