The Aug. 12 editorial "Arabian Shame" suggested that the French contribution to Sudan has been insignificant.

But France is contributing about $100 million to help Darfur, and it has pledged about $144 million for Sudan during the next two years, including support for the Nairobi agreement fostering the return of peace in the south.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy went to Sudan at the end of July and visited the Kalma refugee camp in Darfur. He then went to Niger, site of another humanitarian crisis. France is mobilized to help the most vulnerable people affected by the famine in Niger and has offered bilateral aid as well as logistical support to operations conducted by UNICEF.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, France is the second-largest bilateral donor to Africa in absolute terms after the United States, which represents a massive effort for France's economic size. Beyond its economic aid, France is contributing to peace and stability in Africa with about 10,000 troops on the continent.

France does not claim to have a leadership role in Africa, contrary to The Post's assumption, but it is committed to helping that continent face the challenges that lie ahead.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE

Ambassador

Embassy of France

Washington

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"Arabian Shame" drastically understated the amount of assistance Saudi Arabia gives to Sudan. During the past three decades, Saudi Arabia's foreign aid has averaged about 4 percent of its gross domestic product, well above the official U.N. goal of 0.7 percent.

In addition to the $3 million donated to the U.N. Darfur campaign last year, Saudi Arabia contributed $10.7 million in August 2004 for food and medicine for the region's displaced people through the Saudi Red Crescent Society. This supplemented its humanitarian relief, which has included supplying power generators; drilling wells; a 200-bed field hospital and clinics; and dispatching a Saudi medical team to provide urgent care.

In April Saudi Arabia sent 40 tons of medical equipment and foodstuffs to support the displaced and needy in Darfur. Since last summer, it had dispatched 46 planeloads of aid to western Sudan. In addition to relief assistance for Darfur, Saudi Arabia has given emergency relief aid to Sudan when it has been afflicted by floods, as happened in 2001 and 2003.

RIHAB MASSOUD

Charge d'Affaires

Embassy of Saudi Arabia

Washington