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$560 million for African refugees

In response to urgent pleas for greater emergency aid to africa's nearly 5 million refugees and returnees, donor countries at a UN conference here have just pledged $560 million in aid, special correspondent Edward Girardet reports.

Although it remains unclear what proportion of these contributions is actually "fresh" money, not pledged previously, UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, who presided over the 94-nation International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa, said he was "more than satisfied with the results."

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Western contributions make up the bulk of promised funds. The US delegation, headed by UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, announced a $285 million pledge, the largest donation. This was followed by West Germany ($34,523,809) and Japan ($ 33 million).

Only two OPEC nations, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, announced pledges, $30 million and $20,000, respectively. The Soviet Union and most other East-bloc countries were not present at the meeting despite invitations. Although some African delegates professed not to notice the absence of the Soviet Union and other East-Bloc nations apart from Vietna m, many delegates condemned their failure to turn up.

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