CAIRO: Egypt has announced its intention to host a conference for the reconstruction and development of Darfur within the first three months of 2010.
Director of the Sudan Affairs department at the Foreign Ministry Mohamed Qassem told the Arab Affairs Committee at the People’s Assembly Tuesday that it had received a request from the unity government in Sudan to host the conference.
Qassem added that the invitation list would include all possible donor countries and organizations as well as the IMF and World Bank to help contribute to the redevelopment of the war-torn region, whether in infrastructure or education.
Quite how it would be possible to begin this reconstruction while the conflict continues was not covered in the committee meeting.
Last June, David Phillips, director of the Darfur Early Recovery and Development Initiative at Columbia University in New York said in Cairo that moving from humanitarian assistance to development in Darfur will be impossible in areas where the conflict is still ongoing.
“More than the political situation, security issues are an important determinant. There are islands of stability in Darfur but there are still ongoing conflicts, he said at the time.
“In these conflict areas it is possible to provide humanitarian assistance but moving to early recovery and then development is not possible. So we’re concerned about the security environment, Phillips added.
Egypt hosted an unannounced meeting on Darfur last August between the US, Sudan and Libya which drew the ire of rebel factions in Darfur due to what they perceived was the bias of US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration.
Since the beginning of conflict in Darfur in 2003, some 300,000 people have lost their lives and 2.7 million have been displaced according to UN estimates.
Earlier this month, The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies blasted Arab states for their poor human rights records in a report entitled “Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, and highlighted – amongst other cases – conflicts in Sudan as a hot spot rife with abuses.