Germany pledges food aid for South Sudan’s refugees | Africa | DW | 27.03.2014
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Germany pledges food aid for South Sudan’s refugees

While on a visit to South Sudan, German minister for international development Gerd Müller has announced that his country will provide 10 million euros ($13 million) in food aid for refugees.

Addressing representatives of international relief organizations and church organizations in the South Sudan capital, Juba, Development Minister Müller said the money will be channeled through the World Food Program (WFP) that will distribute the food to the refugees.

In his meeting with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, Müller warned that there is need for a speedy resolution of conflicts.

"The government has the responsibility to resolve outstanding issues peacefully," said Müller, "Europe must also play its part to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table."

Nearly one million refugees have been displaced in South Sudan since fighting broke out between government troops and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar in December last year.

Many of the refugees have found shelter in camps but with the looming rainy season, there are concerns that the makeshift structures might not stand up to the bad weather.

Rebels in south Sudan holding high their weapons

Rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar want to topple Salva Kiir's government in Juba

Germany boosts its role in Africa

Germany has recently been showing a desire to play a more active role in Africa, especially in hot spots like Mali which is the next stop on Minister Müller's tour.

Analysts believe that, although Germany has been present in Africa for some time, the increased influence of China and other countries in the eastern bloc have compelled it to take a fresh look at its role.

Andrews Asamoah from the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria believes that Germany's current engagement in Africa, like that of other western countries, could bring long term benefits.

"It's laudable if you look at the areas that Germany is focusing on like stability. It is important if Africa is to move forward," Asamoah told DW.

"Africa stands to gain if Germany is to build up African expertise in terms of technology which would in the long run contribute to sustainability in Africa," he said.

Role of the churches

German development minister Gerd Müller

German development minister Gerd Müller is visiting South Sudan and Mali

Prior to his talks with President Salva Kiir, Gerd Müller met the Anglican archbishop of Juba, Daniel Deng Bull Yak. Müller paid tribute to the role of the churches in South Sudan in the search for peace. Thanks to their work as mediators, he said, there was a chance to end the conflict in the country which has a large Christian population.

For his part, the archbishop expressed thanks to representatives of the Catholic church, in particular to Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is reponsible for development and human rights issues at the Vatican. The cardinal visited South Sudan earlier in March.

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