Sudan: Donors to Manage Darfur Reconstruction Funds - Sissi

Khartoum — The head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) vowed to form an international mechanism to manage the funds collected in a future donor conference for the reconstruction and development of the war ravaged region .

A donors conference is scheduled to convene on 7 and 8 April in Doha where the government and a former rebel group, Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a peace document on 14 July 2011. Also, the government and a splinter rebel faction are discussing there.

DRA chairman, Tijani Al-Sissi, held yesterday a press conference in Khartoum about the ongoing preparations for this donor meeting which is expected to boost the implementation of the peace framework agreement, particularly the return of displaced people and refugees and recovery projects.

To reassure international donors, Sissi announced that an international mechanism including the Sudanese government and the Authority will be formed to supervise the spending of the money donors allocate to Darfur projects.

Darfur will not get "a single penny" unless donor trust that their money will be spent in development and reconstruction projects, he stressed.

He further expected that contributions of donors will be deposited at the World Bank and the United Nations.

Some international donors including the U.S. and Western countries are supportive to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur but showing anxiety about how they can give money to a country under economic sanctions, and how to ensure that their money will be not be used for another purpose by a country experiencing a severe economic crisis.

However Sissi reaffirmed the Western countries are willing to participate in the funding of Darfur reconstruction, adding they pose some questions related to Khartoum's financial commitment ($200 million annually), violence due to tribal clashes and movements of NGOs in the region.

He went further to say that the issue of travel permissions of aid groups will be resolved soon, adding that a committee formed by the president Omer Al-Bashir is expected to tour the region soon to assess the situation before to take a number of decisions in this respect.

Al-Sissi disclosed that a Qatari delegation would visit Khartoum to discuss the creation of Darfur Development Bank(DDB).

Qatar pledged to pay two billon for Darfur development but the Gulf country said wanting to deposit its contributions in this bank and invite the other donors to do the same thing.

Tadjadine Bechir Niam, DRA Minister of Reconstruction, Development and Infrastructure said the parliament will discuss and endorse the project of the bank next March.

The regional authority says 7 billion are needed to implement a number of projects that donors will be asked to fund.

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