At a donors conference in Oslo, Norway, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick announced the United States' pledge of eight-hundred-fifty-three-million dollars. The money is to be used to help Sudan recover from more than twenty years of civil war, provide emergency aid for the Darfur region, and to support the African Union mission.
The African Union has sent more than two-thousand troops to Darfur along with police officers. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that the U.S. supports the deployment:
"We continue to support that as well as there's talk now...from the Africans of expanding it. While the number and scale of incidents has gone down, we think it's still a dangerous situation for the people there that we need to bring up these African troops."
The fighting between a Islamic government in Khartoum and the mostly animist and Christian Sudanese in the southern part of Sudan led to the deaths of some two-million people, primarily from famine and disease. Four-million other Sudanese have been left homeless.
A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in January by representatives of the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The agreement calls for decentralizing power and sharing Sudan's wealth. But conflict continues in the western Darfur region of Sudan, between rebels and Arab militias backed by Sudanese government troops.
Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick says the U.S. wants "to improve the prospects for success for Sudan." But, he says, "If the government of Sudan and all those in Darfur fail to act to end the violence and to strengthen security [and] to enable humanitarian groups to have open access...Sudan could slip back into the depths."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.