Darfur peace talks may be delayed

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Late arrival of delegates could delay the resumption of the African Union AU-brokered Darfur peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja Thursday.
   By 1400GMT when the negotiations were scheduled to resume, only the AU mediators and representatives of one of the rebel groups, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), had arrived in Abuja.
   The Sudanese government delegation was expected in Nigeria Thursday morning, but there were no indications about the team's arrival, while officials of the second Darfur rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) were also said to have been delayed by travel arrangements.
   "We are still consulting.
No decision has been taken (on the talks)," AU spokesman Niang Boubou told PANA in Abuja Thursday.
   The talks were adjourned four weeks ago after the parties failed to agree on the disarmament of rebel fighters as well as the pro-government Janjaweed militia, blamed for much of the atrocities in Sudan's western region.
   But during that first round of the talks, which opened 23 August, the parties agreed to allow access to humanitarian workers in the Darfur region.
   Some 70,000 people have reportedly died since the crisis erupted in February 2003, although the Khartoum government disputes the figure.
   Another 1.
5 million Sudanese have been displaced by what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

21 october 2004 18:02:00

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