“Sudan stands poised between peace and conflict in 2005,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Sudan Jan Pronk said. “The long-suffering people of the country have rarely faced a period of greater opportunity for peace in the last 20 years. The primary responsibility to realize this future lies with their leaders – who must not fail in this moment of truth.” But, he added, “The international aid community also has an important and irreplaceable role to play.” Apart from Darfur, where 2.2 million people are affected by war, including 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs), the appeal seeks over $550 million for recovery, development and humanitarian programmes in the south, where prospects of peace between the Government and rebels could herald a flood of returning refugees. Another $300 million is sought for national programmes to support the implementation of the peace agreement and critical assistance activities there and in eastern areas of Sudan. Some 640,000 to 1.2 million IDPs and refugees are expected to return to their areas of origin in 2005, mainly to Southern Sudan, where there are already 1.5 million IDPs and conflict affected people. The IDP and vulnerable population is also important in other regions such as eastern Sudan where they number 319,000. The multitude of sectors covered by the appeal include education and training, food aid, health, mine action, multi-sector support for return and reintegration of IDPs and refugees, rehabilitation of transport infrastructure, rule of law and good governance, shelter and supplies, water and environmental sanitation, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. “Without adequate support to save the lives of millions of vulnerable Sudanese and helping to rebuild destroyed communities, the chances of a lasting peace diminish,” Mr. Pronk said. The revised Consolidated Appeal for the Sudan Assistance Plan for 2004 sought $720 million.