Sudan investment conference called off as US pulls out

KHARTOUM - An international conference to drum up investment in Sudan has been called off after the United States and other powers signaled they would not attend in protest over Sudan's crackdown on rebels, diplomats and officials said on Sunday.
Sudan needs a financial lifeline after its economy was thrown into turmoil when South Sudan declared independence in July under a 2005 peace deal, taking with it three-quarters of the oil production -- the driving force of both economies.
Diplomats said Western powers such as the United States had initially supported the joint Norwegian and Turkish initiative for a high-level Sudan conference to help soften the blow of the loss of oil by generating investment and economic assistance.
It was scheduled to be held in Istanbul on March 23/24. A Norwegian diplomat confirmed the meeting had been postponed with no new date set.
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