OSLO, April 12 -- Nations and international organizations on Tuesday pledged $4.5 billion over three years to help southern Sudan build government institutions and alleviate poverty as it recovers from a two-decade civil war.
The bulk of the money will come from the United States, which promised $1 billion to $2 billion, including humanitarian relief. Robert B. Zoellick, the deputy secretary of state, said continued support would depend on whether the Sudanese government acts quickly to end a separate conflict in Darfur, in western Sudan, which has killed tens of thousands of people since 2003.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, right, with Premier Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway, left.
(Terje Bendiksby -- Reuters)
_____Crisis in Sudan_____
Photos: Continuing Crisis
Photos: Sudan's Rebels
U.S. Official Ties Sudan Aid to Darfur (The Washington Post, Apr 12, 2005)
In Exploring a Solution for Darfur, Sudan Opts for Local Justice (The Washington Post, Apr 2, 2005)
U.N. Council's Resolution on Atrocities in Sudan Is Passed (The Washington Post, Apr 1, 2005)
New U.N. Darfur Sanctions Passed (The Washington Post, Mar 30, 2005)
Sudan Leader: World Must Pressure Darfur Rebels (The Washington Post, Mar 22, 2005)
"There is a chance to save this country," Zoellick said, calling the current moment "a time for choosing for Sudan." He said the country could take an upward spiral toward peace or a downward spiral "back into the depths."
Zoellick will travel later this week to Khartoum, Sudan's capital, and to the southern part of the country and Darfur. During the Oslo conference, he met with key officials who took part in the peace process during the civil war. That conflict pitted the Islamic government in the north against rebels based in the mostly animist and Christian south, leaving 2 million people dead, primarily from famine and disease, and 4 million homeless.
The United Nations and the World Bank had estimated that the two formerly warring parties need $7.9 billion to build roads and schools, improve health care and boost economic growth over the next three years. Much of that will be funded through a plan to share Sudan's oil riches, but a gap of $2.6 billion remained to be filled through international donations.
Among the pledges, the European Commission promised about $765 million, Britain $545 million, Norway $250 million and the Netherlands $220 million.
Zoellick told reporters he believed that other donors shared his view that continued support depended on ending the violence in Darfur.
"I would like to see improvement as soon as we can," he said. "We are watching events day by day, and we and others know when things aren't going right."