Darfur rebels in disarray over Abuja talks

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Diplomatic sources growing differences and a lack coordination within the ranks of the rebels in Darfur could undermine the resumption of peace talks planned for 23 August in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Press reports in Khartoum quoted African Union (AU) sources as recalling that it was equally a clash of views that led to the collapse of previous talks in N'djamena (Chad) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
"I doubt they read from the same paper," one account quoted a western diplomat in Khartoum as saying.
Some analysts also said the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) were less keen about talks with Khartoum, what with the Sudanese government taking all the heat from international pressure.
"It is easy to deal with the SLM, but things are a lot more complicated with JEM because there are many groups claiming to represent the movement," an AU diplomat was quoted as observing.
Meanwhile, JEM leaders, who have been pushing for foreign military intervention in Darfur, dismissed reports of a split within their ranks as sheer Khartoum propaganda calculated to undermine the moment's credibility.
Last Thursday, JEM indicated it was willing to resume talks, but said it could not be present in Nigeria before 5 September, complaining that the date of 23 August was after all unilaterally decided by the AU.
The SLM has also expressed doubts about sending representatives to Abuja, even a Chadian mediator insisted that the date of the Abuja talks was agreed following discussions with senior officials of two rebel movements.
The first round of political talks last month between the government and the rebels collapsed after the latter set six conditions for dialogue with Khartoum.

15 august 2004 14:02:00

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