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Sudan a 'crucial challenge'

Sudan a 'crucial challenge'

The situation in Sudan is Africa's biggest immediate challenge, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said today.

Speaking at Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr Straw stressed that Sudan represented the 'world's worst humanitarian disaster' and a 'crucial challenge to Africa and the African Union'.

"The stakes are high, and Britain is determined to help Africa to meet that test," said Mr Straw.

"We are already the leading bilateral cash donor to the humanitarian operation, and the leading provider of support to the African Union military mission. "

The Foreign Secretary also highlighted the many post-conflict societies in Africa that need help, as well as countries with cold wars between the government and the governed.

He cited Zimbabwe as one country where the damage was 'particularly severe.' More than seven million Zimbabweans now dependent on food aid.

The Foreign Secretary went on to mention reasons for optimism in Africa, such as the growth and spread of democratic and accountable government across the continent.

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