Sudan PM meets Darfur rebel chief in ‘essential’ step to peace: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok as he arrives for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, September 30, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 30 September 2019

Sudan PM meets Darfur rebel chief in ‘essential’ step to peace: Macron

  • Hamdok said that his meeting with Nour involved “very profound exchanges.”
  • “The Sudanese deserve to finally live in peace and security,” Macron said

PARIS: Sudan’s prime minister has met a senior Darfur rebel leader living in France, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday, hailing an “essential step” for peace in the troubled east African nation.
“We facilitated talks that Prime Minister (Abdalla) Hamdok had yesterday with Abdel Wahid Nour, who is in our country,” Macron said at a press conference with Hamdok after talks in Paris.
“I think the step taken yesterday is an essential step,” he added. “The Sudanese deserve to finally live in peace and security.”
Hamdok said that his meeting with Nour, which he had expected to last 30 minutes, went on for nearly three hours and involved “very profound exchanges.”
“We discussed the roots of the Sudanese crisis and possibilities for a solution and... we are going to lay the first stones for this edifice of peace,” he said.
Darfur fell into widespread conflict in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government of Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled in April this year.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the years-long conflict in Darfur and more than two million displaced, according to the United Nations.


UK pledges £20m aid for Beirut blast recovery

The blast in Beirut hit a grain silo in the port, exasperating Lebanon's already rising food insecurity. (File/Reuters)
Updated 09 August 2020

UK pledges £20m aid for Beirut blast recovery

  • World leaders have joined a virtual summit to coordinate an effective humanitarian response to the Beirut blast.
  • French President promises aid will not go to "corrupt hands"

LONDON: The UK has pledged an additional £20 million ($26.09 million) in humanitarian aid to Lebanon in response to last week’s massive explosion in Beirut.

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the money would go to the UN’s World Food Programme to help Lebanon’s most vulnerable.

The figure was promised at a virtual summit held Sunday that was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. World leaders met virtually to formulate a global response to the devastating explosion and ensuing humanitarian and economic crisis.

Trevelyan said: “The devastation we have seen in Lebanon this week has left people without homes, medical care and wondering how long it will be until the country’s food supplies run out. Today the world is coming together to stand by the Lebanese people, and as one of the biggest donors to this crisis so far, the UK is pledging more urgent support to help all those affected by this terrible disaster.”

The UK has already provided £5 million in assistance and paid for specialist medics to respond to health needs on the ground. It will also send a Royal Navy vessel to assist the recovery.

Other European countries have also promised to send humanitarian aid. Germany has pledged 10 million euros ($11.78 million) and the European Union has promised 30 million euros.

Despite the sizable donations, the price tag for rebuilding Beirut is likely to cost billions of dollars.

There is also widespread distrust among the Lebanese population about the government’s ability to effectively coordinate the blast response and to manage the huge influx of cash.

Macron, addressing this concern on his recent trip to Beirut, said: “I guarantee you, this (reconstruction) aid will not go to corrupt hands.”