The World Bank met Thursday with Sudanese leaders and international donors to review development aid amid continuing conflict between the government and rebels in Darfur.
Donors from 60 nations pledged US$4.5 billion ( Ђ 3.78 billion) in aid to Sudan over two years in April 2005 after a peace deal ended Africa's longest-running civil war, between the government in the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south.
The top U.N. envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said at Thursday's meeting that southern Sudan remained plagued by poverty, health problems and water shortages more than a year after the peace deal, and despite $485 million ( Ђ 407 million) in aid disbursed in 2005.
"For the people themselves nothing has changed," he said.
Still, he welcomed the aid, saying it was 95 percent of the money promised for last year.
The north-south conflict was separate from the continuing violence in Darfur in the west. Pronk insisted that aid to southern Sudan should not depend on progress on talks over Darfur.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, however, said before the World Bank donor talks: "We cannot consider the (funding plan) without addressing the ongoing conflict in Darfur."
In meetings Thursday and Friday, officials from the World Bank, the United Nations, the United States and other donor countries were meeting with representatives of Sudan's north and south to discuss that aid and reconstruction and development efforts, reports the AP.
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