Sudan: World can do more to end Darfur crisis-Wolfowitz

News and Press Release
Originally published
By Lesley Wroughton

KIGALI, June 17 (Reuters) - World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said on Friday the world -- including the bank -- must do all it can to help Sudan's Darfur region emerge from the suffering of genocide.

Making an inaugural tour of Africa after taking up his post on June 1, Wolfowitz said in answer to reporters' questions during a visit to Rwanda: "I am sure more can be done. People are working hard at it, I know, in some governments."

Wolfowitz on Thursday called the situation in Darfur, a remote region of western Sudan where tens of thousands have been killed in fighting since 2003, a genocide.

Asked on Friday how the outside world could help end the violence, he replied: "Genocide is something that has deep effects on societies for a long time, and part of the healing process has got to be development and poverty reduction."

Wolfowitz said he could not elaborate on exactly how the Bank, the world's biggest development lender, would be involved but said he was sure it would have a role in the region once fighting had died down.

"I would hope the World Bank would do everything it possibly can to support that process (of solving Darfur's problems)."

The Bank reopened its Sudan office in January after a more than 10-year absence and in March said it expected to normalise relations with the heavily indebted country within a year.

Sudan fell out of favour with international lenders when it failed to honour debt repayments, and the World Bank has said its estimated $25 billion in debt needs to be reduced to $5-$6 billion before it can borrow again from the Bank.

Some human rights activists argue that donor money and the right to borrow from global lenders like the World Bank should be withheld from Sudan unless the Khartoum government does more to resolve the crisis in the western region of Darfur, where more than two million people have fled their homes and thousands have been killed each month in fighting in Darfur.

With 334 projects and commitments of $16.6 billion, the development bank is the largest provider of development assistance to Africa.

Wolfowitz, who spoke to reporters after talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, is on a four-nation tour of Africa, which he has said will be his first priority as head of the Bank.

Wolfowitz has already visited Nigeria and Burkina Faso this week and will end his trip in South Africa after Rwanda.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit