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Islamic countries pledge $850 million to develop Darfur

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Khartoum responded by arming nomadic Arab tribes to fight the rebels as a kind of proxy army. The resulting death toll has led the International Criminal Court to charge Sudanese President Bashir with crimes against humanity.

The Egyptian hosts for the Darfur donors' conference hailed the donations made thus far, and promised that more would be forthcoming.

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Darfur, the basic issue has been one of development, which has taken on political, tribal, and social dimensions," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit at the conclusion of the conference. “We are convinced that the key is to improve development and raise the standard of living for the Darfur citizen."

How substantial is the latest peace deal?

 But experts on the Darfur issue point out that the current peace deal with JEM follows a pattern of other peace agreements, notably with Minni Minawi, the leader of a faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), in a deal signed in 2005.

Mr. Minawi, who attended the conference in Cairo, is now a member of the Khartoum government, but is largely isolated from his political base in Darfur and overshadowed by other rebel groups such as the Islamist-based JEM and the larger SLA faction of Abdul Wahid, whose group maintains a base in the Darfuri region of Jebel Marra.

Mr. Wahid currently runs his SLA faction from exile in France, and refuses to join talks with Khartoum.

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