Sudan: Ihsanoglu Under Scores Strong International Support For Darfur Construction

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has said that the political developments being witnessed in the Darfur region, as important and positive as they are, will not be complete unless they are complemented by strong international support. Such support is required to execute reconstruction, education, health facilities and water reforms, as well as agricultural, pastoral and industrial development and infrastructure rehabilitation projects.

This was contained in the Secretary General's speech at the opening session of the one-day international donors' conference on the development and reconstruction of Darfur, held in Cairo on 21 March 2010 and attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Ihsanoglu stated that the conference was being held at a time when peace had become a strategic choice for all parties, after the negotiations wisely and ably led by the Government of the State of Qatar led to the signing of two framework agreements under which armed confrontations stopped.

The Secretary General emphasized that the OIC had been the pioneer in involving civil society organizations and the private sector in donors' conferences organized by the OIC, starting with the 2007 donor's conference on the Republic of Niger. He cited the invitation of organizations to the donors' conference on the Republic of Sierra Leone organized in cooperation with the British Department for International Development (DFID) last November and the participation of the organization in the donors' conference on the Republic of Union of Comoros, held under the auspices of the Government of Qatar. The Secretary General expressed confidence that the sector would also have strong contributions in supporting the development and reconstruction process in Darfur.

Ihsanoglu expressed the hope that this precedence would afford this important sector the opportunity to express itself as a key partner in the development and reconstructions process in the Muslim world.

The Secretary General noted that redeeming donors' pledges required an effective mechanism, pointing out that the OIC had in previous conferences sought to set out clear and practical mechanisms to achieve that objective.

The pledges announced at the conference were an expression of collective will to assist in the development and construction of Darfur. Going by this and on the basis of its previous experience, the OIC would coordinate, follow up and implement pledges in the stages ahead. To this end, Ihsanoglu announced that the OIC would soon officially open its office in the Sudan, based on agreements reached with the Government of Sudan last January. It would also establish a follow up mechanism comprising member of the conference's preparatory committee and key donors. The mechanism would lay out a clear system for its work. This would be carried out in full coordination with the Government of Sudan and financial institutions working in the area of development in Darfur, notably the Darfur Development Bank recently proposed by Qatar.

The Secretary General expressed thanks and appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting the conference and for its support to ensure its success. He also thanked the preparatory committee which prepared the proposed budgets, stressing that the projects would address the current situation and real need of the Darfur man in all vital areas.