EU restores ties with Sudan [from]

The 21-year-long civil conflict left 1.2 million Sudanese homeless

The European Union has restored ties with Sudan and offered ¤50 million in
aid to help boost a peace agreement.

Senior EU and Sudanese officials signed a cooperation agreement on Monday,
which the European Commission said would launch an immediate aid package of
¤25 million for the northern region and a further ¤25 million for the south
of the country.

"This meeting is the starting point of normal relations between the European
Union and Sudan," EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis
Michel said.

The EU, the world's leading aid donor, suspended cooperation with Sudan
during the war in 1990. It resumed political dialogue with Khartoum in 1999
but did not re-launch cooperation.

Normal relations between Khartoum and Brussels will mean that Sudan now also
has access to a ¤400 million development aid package from the EU's executive

Rebels in the south and the Khartoum government signed the peace deal on 9
January, ending 21 years of civil war. Two million people, mostly civilians,
have died from violence, disease or famine in the oil-rich region.

Sudanese Vice-President Ali Usman Muhammad Taha pledged to implement the
peace pact, which could help end the Darfur conflict in which over 1.2
million people have been left homeless.

"We are committed to use the same drive and to draw from our experience in
resolving the conflict in southern Sudan to bring a prompt and fair answer
to the conflict in Darfur," Taha said.

But Tajiddin Nyam, an official of the Darfur rebel group the Justice and
Equality Movement, appealed to the EU not to release any money to the
government as long as the conflict in the western region of Darfur

"This money will be used to finance the Janjawid. Do not release this money
to someone who is killing our people. It means funding for genocide," he
told Reuters from Chad.

The Janjawid are militias that have attacked Darfur villagers, helping to
drive two million of them out of their homes.