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Norway contributes 252 million dollars to Sudan

4/12/2005 4:17pm

STOCKHOLM, Apr 11, 2005 (Xinhua) -- Norway has granted 1.6 billion Norwegian kroner (252 million US dollars) over the next three years to reconstruction and development in Sudan, Norwegian Broadcasting reported on Monday.
Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik announced this as he opened the Sudan International Donor's Conference in Oslo on Monday morning, in the presence of Queen Sonja, with the aim being to raise 2.6 billion dollars needed to rebuild the country after a 21- year civil war.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also attends the conference, together with delegates from 60 nations and international organizations.

The main figures behind the peace agreement, Sudan's vice- president Ali Osman Taha and the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, John Garang, are in Oslo for the conference.

The United States is represented by Deputy Foreign Secretary Robert Zoellick. China and several Arab nations are also represented for the first time.

Bondevik praised the sides in their determined effort to reach a peace settlement in Sudan and also thanked the conference's host, Norwegian Minister of International Development Hilde Frafjord Johnson, who has played a major role in forging the pact signed on Jan. 9 this year.

Sudan will need aid in the billions to rebuild a nation which has been completely devastated by civil war.

The health and education systems have been destroyed, and it has been estimated that 8 billion US dollars will be needed over the next three years. It is expected that 2.6 billion US dollars of these must come from donor nations.

"The internal community must contribute," Frafjord Johnson said.

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