$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."

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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