Nairobi,6th June 2004(Xinhua via COMTEX)
The League of Arab States (LAS) has earmarked more than 200 million US dollars for the reconstruction of the war-torn southern Sudan, LAS' Secretary General Amr Moussa said here Friday.
Moussa told reporters in Kenya's capital Nairobi that the money, some of which are already in use, is part of major plans by the LAS to support the Sudan once a comprehensive peace agreement is signed.
"We in the Arab League States have taken the question of the Sudan as a top priority issue. We support all the protocols which have been signed. The agreement will make the unity of the Sudan attractive, in the field, we have earmarked more 200 million US dollars in working in southern as part of larger plan to help Sudan's reconstruction and this has been coordinated by the government of the Sudan and (the rebel leader John) Garang," Moussa said.
He was speaking in Nairobi after signing an agreement between the Kenyan government and his league, which enables the latter to set up diplomatic presentations in the east African country.
"We are still doing feasibility studies in south Sudan. Some have been finished while others have not. We are also waiting for peace to prevail in that country so that the Arab league can embark on reconstruction work in southern Sudan once peace is realized," Moussa said.
"We are ready, we will be very active in this and we will participate in all activities to reconstruct the south in coordination with the government's plans," Moussa added.
The Sudanese civil war started in 1983 when the Sudan People's Liberation Movement /Army (SPLM/A) took up arms fighting for self- determination in the southern part of the country, which has left some 2 million people dead, mostly through war-induced famine and disease.
The Sudanese government and the SPLM/A began peace talks in March 1994 in Kenya, under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, a seven-member regional group in east Africa, consisting of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan.
The parties on May 26 signed key peace protocols on power sharing, the two conflict areas of Nuba (Kordofan) Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, and another disputed area of Abyei, paving way for a full cease-fire and implementation pact to end a war that has cut Africa's biggest country in two for over two decades.
Together with the previously signed accords on wealth sharing and establishing a six-year interim period for the southerners to make their own political choice, they are as a whole being widely regarded as a milestone on the road to ending the longest civil war on the African continent.