Donors have pledged $850 million for the development and reconstruction of Sudan’s Darfur region, said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The Muslim world’s biggest organization had been aiming to raise $2 billion for projects in western Sudan, where a seven- year armed conflict mainly between the government and rebel groups forced more than 2.7 million people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. The pledges are just a start, Ihsanoglu said in a televised news conference from Cairo after the end of a Darfur development and reconstruction donor conference. The participants included countries such as Germany, Belgium, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Turkey acted as the co-chairs. The 57-member OCI, based in Saudi Arabia, wants the money to be spent on agriculture, water and housing, according to its Web site. (Bloomberg)

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