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Paris organizes an aid conference for Sudan, a year after the outbreak of war

Germany, France and the European Union on Monday called on the international community to provide urgent support to Sudan in light of the catastrophic humanitarian situation the conflict has brought to the northeast African state.

“If we do not take massive countermeasures now as a global community, Sudan will face a terrible famine disaster. In the worst case, a million people could starve this year,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned at an aid conference. in Paris.

“We make it clear today that we will not lose sight of the suffering of the people of Sudan,” she added.

A bloody power struggle is raging in Sudan between the forces of Abdel Fattah al-Burha, an army general who is the country’s de facto ruler, and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The two generals seized power in a military coup in 2021 but later fell out over internationally backed plans for Sudan’s transition to civilian rule. The integration of the RSF into the regular armed forces was a particularly contentious issue.

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The artillery shelling, rocket fire and air strikes have hit almost all parts of the African country, including the hard-hit capital Khartoum. There has been a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation, with serious shortages of medicines and other essential supplies.

In February, the United Nations estimated that $4.1 billion was needed in emergency aid for those affected by the conflict. According to Baerbock, only 6% of this has been funded so far.

Food, drinking water, baby food, medicine, clothing, education, housing and “especially psychological guidance” were all in short supply, Germany’s top diplomat said. Refugee camps in southern Sudan were overcrowded, with new arrivals every day who could not be cared for.

Germany has pledged 244 million euros ($260 million) this year to Sudan and its neighboring countries, Baerbock announced. France pledged €110 million this year and the European Commission pledged around €355 million.

A year after the country’s civil war broke out, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said Sudanese had become victims of oblivion, in addition to being victims of displacement and hunger.

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“Today we are putting a forgotten crisis on the agenda,” he added.

About 20,000 people are displaced every day in Sudan, according to UN figures released Monday to mark one year of civil war in the country.

More than half of them are children and young people, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“This is the world’s worst child displacement crisis happening before our eyes,” Baerbock said.

It is estimated that more than 8.6 million people have fled their homes since April last year. According to conservative estimates, one in eight refugees worldwide comes from Sudan.

About 2 million people have escaped across the border into Chad, South Sudan and Egypt, the IOM said.

“Sudan is tragically fast becoming one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises in decades,” said IOM Director General Amy Pope.

Amnesty International called on the UN Security Council to extend the current arms embargo on the western region of Darfur to the entire country.

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Last month, the United Nations issued a dire warning that millions of Sudanese were facing famine. It is “truly the stuff of nightmares,” says Edem Wosornu of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Amnesty International said last year it had documented war crimes by both sides, including mass civilian casualties in both deliberate and indiscriminate attacks and sexual violence against women and girls.

The meeting in Paris started with political consultations, in which more than twenty ministers were expected to participate – mainly from Sudan’s neighboring countries – and representatives of major international organizations. The German Foreign Ministry said a main goal of the discussion was to better coordinate various mediation efforts.

Annalena Baerbock (L), German Foreign Minister, and Abdalla Hamdok, former Prime Minister of Sudan, meet for talks on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting to support peace initiatives for Sudan.  Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Annalena Baerbock (L), German Foreign Minister, and Abdalla Hamdok, former Prime Minister of Sudan, meet for talks on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting to support peace initiatives for Sudan. Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Annalena Baerbock (2nd from left), German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Sejourne (2nd from right), French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell (R), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, and Janez Lenarcic ( L), EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, speaking at a press conference ahead of the ministerial meeting in support of peace initiatives for Sudan.  Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpaAnnalena Baerbock (2nd from left), German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Sejourne (2nd from right), French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell (R), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, and Janez Lenarcic ( L), EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, speaking at a press conference ahead of the ministerial meeting in support of peace initiatives for Sudan.  Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

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