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Friday, 18 June 2010

Sudan to get €150m of unspent funds

EU member states agree to ensure that Sudan continues to receive development aid.  The EU's member states have agreed to channel €150 million of unspent funds to projects in Sudan in order to ensure that the country continues to receive development aid. Sudan currently is unable to receive EU funding from new budgets because its central government has refused to ratify the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).  Humanitarian aid is not affected by Sudan's opposition to the ICC, which in March 2009 indicted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes. The decision, reached unanimously at a meeting on Tuesday (18 May) of member states' diplomats, will be formally adopted within weeks.  The Netherlands, which has been a strong supporter of the ICC, put forward an unopposed declaration that no funds from this allocation should be channelled through the government in Khartoum. A European Commission official said that the proposal, which was drafted by the Commission, was a response to worries about the continuation of existing development projects.  A Commission official said the Commission expects the funds to be committed to specific projects by January, when South Sudan holds a referendum on independence.  The referendum is part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a bloody, decades-long war with the central government in Khartoum. Should the south opt for independence – which is all but certain – and decide to ratify the Rome Statute, it would re-gain access to the European Development Fund. There are fears that donors' attention could shift entirely to the south, leaving a void in the north.

Source: Europeanvoice